At a public board meeting held Monday the Okanagan Skaha Board of Education approved a preliminary operating budget for the 2012-13 school year.
The district faced a $1.8 million shortfall and to balance the budget the board relied on accumulated savings and reserves of $1 million and further budget reductions of approximately $0.8 million.
“Our long-term planning strategy has allowed us to mitigate the effects of a funding shortage; however, reductions to services and programs are still necessary this year,” said Chair Ginny Manning.
The board approved the following reductions:
o Class composition – 2.08 FTE (full-time equivalent) teachers and 4.0 FTE certified education assistants.
o Helping teachers – .351 FTE
o Autism teacher – .04 FTE
o School and district supply, equipment and travel budgets up to 10 per cent
o Maintenance – $84,000
o Transportation – $50,000
o Family life teacher – 0.9 FTE
Although elementary enrolment has shown signs of leveling off, secondary enrolment will continue to decline and the board is expecting a similar funding shortfall in the 2013-14 budget year.
Because of the funding shortfall expected over the next few years, the board will look at revenue generation options.
The Board of Education also approved a separate Learning Improvement Fund (LIF) provided by the Ministry of Education of $692,196.
The fund provides additional resources specifically targeted to support challenging learning conditions.
The spending plan for the LIF fund is required to be completed by Oct. 31, 2012 and will be focused on teachers, support staff and other resources.