Funding brings temporary reprieve for school district

Funding announcements this week from the Ministry of Education are good news and bad news for the Okanagan Skaha School District, which has been dealing with declining enrolment and substantial deficits for the last two budget cycles.

Funding announcements this week from the Ministry of Education are good news and bad news for the Okanagan Skaha School District, which has been dealing with declining enrolment and substantial deficits for the last two budget cycles.

Secretary-treasurer Ron Shongrunden said it’s too early to predict the size of the deficit for the 2011-12 school year, but it is good news for the district that funding protection is going to continue for at least one more year.

“It could have been a lot worse. The last couple of years, they were thinking it was going to disappear,” he said. “Again, just for one year; they don’t really know what they are going to do in the end.”

For Okanagan Skaha, that amounts to $1.4 million going into the kitty. The bad news is that Continuing Education and Distance Learning are not part of the funding protection, amounting to a funding decrease of $300,000 for the upcoming budget.

Funding protection helps insulate the district budget from the effects of declining enrolment, which has more than eaten up the provincial government’s much-touted increases in education funding.

“In the coming school year, we’re increasing the basic allocation amount provided for every student by $44. This gives districts more money up front, allowing them to plan budgets more effectively and address cost pressures they’ve identified,” said former Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid.

“We’ve continually increased funding to school districts since 2000-01 and I’m delighted to say we are providing a further increase to make full-day kindergarten available for all students.”

However, school districts across the province have been dealing with structural deficits over the past few years, including Okanagan Skaha, which had to deal with about a $2 million deficit last year.

“We had funding protection in there, carried forward some funds from the previous year and we had technology kick in to kind of make it all balance,” said Shongrunden, adding that some costs go down with declining enrolment but other costs, like utilities and wages, either remain the same or have increased.

“ I am hoping it’s not going to be too terribly bad. It will still be tight, I would think. But we’ll know more in a little bit.”

He will be spending spring break preparing budget figures in advance of the public part of the process, which includes two meetings, one on April 6, where a consultant will release the results of the recent facilities review, and a public review meeting on April 12. Both meetings will take place in the Penticton Secondary library.

Part of the consultant’s report will be a review of how much enrolment is going to continue to drop, which may mean continuing problems in coming years. While Shongrunden said school closures are not likely an active consideration for the 2011-12 budget, that may change in the future as enrolment continues to decline.

“It will be a substantial drop over the next five years,” he said. “I think that you’ll find in the long term, something has to happen, but in the short term, we’re probably OK.”

 

Just Posted

James Miller, the managing editor at the Penticton Herald, has been voted in for Jake Kimberley’s vacated council seat. (Submitted)
James Miller elected as Penticton city councillor

Penticton also voted yes to allowing up to 25 years for a Skaha Marina contract

The Eyes of the Tigers on the 2021 Beer Run on June 19. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Beer Runners take trip around local beaches and brews

Over 160 people signed up to come back after the 2020 run was cancelled

There was high voter turnout for the first of three advance voting days for the Penticton city by-election.
Penticton city by-election general voting day is today, June 19

737 voters on June 9 in comparison to 2018 general election, which had 1,001 on first day

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read