School board starts paying bills

in June, school boards across BC were told to return 80 per cent of the money saved during strike days in the 2013-2014 school year

Liz Bevan

Rossland News

School District 20 (SD20) has given the Ministry of Education just over $1 million of the $1.3 million it saved when teachers were on the picket lines and students were at home at the end of the last school year.

Back in June, school boards across the province were told to return 80 per cent of the money saved during strike days in the 2013-2014 school year — a topic on the agenda at Monday’s SD#20 board meeting. A large part of the meeting included a presentation of the 2013-2014 school year budget audit and showed significant savings because of the strike action.

“We have our teacher savings from May and June and we had to send 80 per cent of it back to the ministry,” said Natalie Verigin, secretary-treasurer of the board, adding that $260,000 in teacher savings shown in their budget, represented the 20 per cent of strike savings the board was allowed to keep. “Also, because of the strike, we had no replacements that were needed because we had no staff to replace. The unspent portion of that of the replacement budget was just over $115,000.”

After paying back the Ministry of Education, the school district saved, and gets to keep, over $600,000 from last May and June, but a large chunk is being set aside in case it needs to get paid out in the future.

“That money is saved up from not having to pay CUPE wages during the strike. That money may be flowed back out to the CUPE depending on whether we locally ratify our contract with them by the end of November. It is set aside as a $250,000 contingent liability,” explained Verigin.

For the days missed because of the strike, school boards are being asked to return 100 per cent of savings from September. In a letter dated September 12 from the Ministry of Education, all school districts were asked to give back teachers’ wages, benefits, replacement costs, utility and facility money along with transportation, professional development, travel and supply costs saved during the 13 strike days in September.

The financial statements presented at the board meeting didn’t just cover the savings from the strike, but the budget for the entire 2013-2014 school year.

The total surplus from the year amounted to $2.7 million, a number Verigin says is higher than the board is used to seeing.

“Total revenues received were $35 million with total expenses at $33 million leaving an operating surplus of $1.87 million,” she said. “From that we deduct our capital expenditures, so we end up with an operating surplus of $1.3 million. Added to the surplus that we had prior, we have accumulated a surplus of $2.7 million. That is a large number and more than the board has had over the last few years.”

Part of the reason for the large surplus, according to Verigin, are portions of money coming into the school board’s accounts, but weren’t designated to a certain purpose in their annual budget.

“Some of this is a result of the release of the holdback fund from the Ministry of Education. We don’t ever account for our money in that budget because we don’t know if the ministry will be releasing holdback monies. It is always a surprise. There have been years where the ministry has no holdback money left over after it had done allocation funding to other districts,” said Verigin.

Along with holdback money, the board renegotiated rates with its banker to allow for higher interest rates and included carry-forward money in their announced surplus.

“Every budget year, we allocate supply money to all of the schools depending on how many students are in that school,” said Verigin. “So, a school might get $200,000 a year and they have to run their school with that. If they choose to buy some iPads, they can set aside some money every year until they have enough money in reserves that they can make the purchase. If we had a budget mentality of, ‘here is your money and if you don’t spend it all, we are going to take it back.’ We feel that they would be spending it for the sake of spending it.”

 

To see a full version of the SD#20 board’s 2013-2014 school year audit, visit www.sd20.bc.ca. The next SD#20 board meeting will be on October 27 in Castlegar.

 

 

Just Posted

Spruce up Castegar, we’re being judged!

Communities in Bloom officials review everything from littering to city’s environmental policies

Kootenay heat wave sparks record-breaking energy use

Energy-use is nearing FortisBC’s highest peak load on record of 746 MW from December 2008

Kaslo native promotes science and reason on a global stage

Pangburn Philosophy is part show business, part intellectual journey

Trail All Stars riding tourney win into Little League provincials

The Trail All Stars are heading into the provincial championships on a winning note

Kootenay town was the hot spot in all of Canada on Monday

The temperature hit 38.8 C at the Warfield weather station on July 16, setting a new daily record

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Woman charged after eight dogs seized from hotel room

Sixteen dogs recently seized from Adams and her daughter in Quesnel

Motorcyclist grateful to be alive, thanks fellow drivers

Over a dozen people stopped to assist Lori Hann after she tumbled off her bike on Hwy 3, Saturday

Owner of B.C. fruit stand recounts ‘flames popping up everywhere’ from wildfire

The Mount Eneas wildfire is burning at about 200 hectares south of Peachland

Ontario, Saskatchewan premiers join together to oppose federal carbon plan

Saskatchewan is already involved in a court case over the tax

For-profit ridesharing legislation long overdue: BC Conservatives

Interim party leader Scott Anderson said the provincial government should step out of the way

After cave rescue, soccer boys pray for protection at Thai temple

On Wednesday evening, the boys and coach were released from hospital

Gymnastics sex abuse victims join hands, accept courage award at ESPYs

The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

Most Read