WCPS Budget Update
WCPS BUDGET UPDATE
The Board of Trustees met Thursday, April 21, 2016 and Tuesday, April 26, 2016 to fully review the budget and set allocations in principle understanding the budget will be finalized in June.
In the current 2015-2016 school year the Board has approved a $2.2 million dollar deficit from operations as shown in the 2015/2016 Budget Update that was submitted to Alberta Education November, 2015. This operational deficit is being supported by using operational reserves the Board has accumulated over time.
The recent provincial budget announcement did give a budget with stable funding and enrolment growth support. Grant rates are the same as 2015/2016 rates and any new students to the jurisdiction will be funded.
A number of other costs impacting the budget for next year include declining enrollment of 38 fewer students and the implementation of a provincial carbon levy on January 1, 2017 with an anticipated cost between $75,000 and $100,000.
The projected deficit entering into the 2015-2016 school year was $2.263 million and was adjusted to an estimated $2.6 million. This was the challenging starting point of budget deliberations.
Supporting classrooms by maintaining classroom teachers was identified as central to the Board's priorities. This allocation will see 338 full-time equivalent teachers supporting Wolf Creek classrooms next year which represents approximately the same number of teachers from the current school year.
"Faced with an incredibly difficult budget scenario of eliminating a $2.6 million deficit, the Board of Trustees reinforced their commitment to maintaining a high level of classroom support to ensure our students continue to achieve at a high level", says Acting Superintendent, Jayson Lovell.
Wolf Creek has been utilizing operational reserves over a number of years to sustain operations. These operational reserves were over $8 million in 2012-2013 and have been spent down considerably over three years. During this time these operational reserves provided enhanced resources and support across the school division. As of September 2016, Wolf Creek will have kept a reserve of close to $2 million.
Despite approaching the necessary $2.6 million reduction with a balanced approach, the anticipated reduction of dedicated Wolf Creek staff is clearly the most impactful and difficult outcome of this budget. These reductions will directly impact Wolf Creek in areas such as central services, classroom support and instructional resources.
Board Chair, Trudy Bratland adds, “The Board of Trustees commends the Superintendency Team for all the preparation they have done to provide valuable information for, and answers to our questions during our budget deliberations. We were able to have a thoughtful, often difficult discussion regarding our priorities keeping in mind that we have a $2.6 million projected deficit for the current year. Although there is still work to be done, we believe we have provided sufficient guidelines to allow for planning the 2016/17 school year”.
For more information please contact:
Mr. Jayson Lovell
Wolf Creek Public Schools