The chair of the Central Okanagan School District says it’s always nice to receive extra money from the provincial government but added it would have been nice to know it was coming before the district had to cut over $3 million from this year’s budget.
Moyra Baxter was reacting to news from the provincial government that the Central Okanagan would receive $968,000 from the provincial government as part of a province-wide announcement that is returning money to districts.
“The government has decided they are going to return to school districts some of those savings they asked us to make,” said Baxter. “In essence those were cuts because we had to find that money. It’s always good news when you hear you are getting extra money but it won’t be enough to alleviate the cuts we have had to make.”
The Central Okanagan recently adopted its 2016 budget and was forced to cut $3.2 million in a variety of ways to balance its budget. The final budget doesn’t have to be into the government by June 30, so the district could still make some changes, however Baxter said it’s unknown at this point what they will do.
Baxter said the first step will be getting the school board together to discuss their options for the new money.
“We started off having to cut $3.2 million so this might mean we just don’t have to make as many cuts as we thought we had to,” she said. “It’s a bit late in the year. It would have been much better to have this information before we got into budget discussions.
The province announced it was returning $25 million to school districts across the province with money districts saved on administrative costs. In recent years the government has tasked districts with cutting administrative fees. This funding announcement is re-directing those savings back to the districts to spend how they see fit.
It’s unknown at this time if the money is just a one-time announcement or if there will be additional savings in coming years.