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School board covers deficit with operating reserves

Livingstone Range School Board will use school operating reserves to cover an anticipated deficit of more than $1.1-million as enrollment continues to decline.
At its June 14 meeting the school board approved its 2012-’13 budget, presented by associate superintendent for business services Jeff Perry.
“This has been a very challenging budget year,” Perry said, citing declining enrollment, and funding cuts that have not been fully restored.
The budget anticipates revenues of $46,699,050 and expenditures of $47,814,636 resulting in a projected deficit of $1,115,586.
Full-time equivalent teaching positions are projected to be reduced from 213.8356 to 204.272.
These numbers are based on enrollment, which has continued to decline, meaning less funding, as well as reductions by Alberta Education to other funding sources that have not been fully restored to pre 2011-’12 levels.
The projected enrollment in the division is 3,425, which is 192 full-time equivalent students or 5.3 per cent lower than September 2011 numbers.
In his submission to Alberta Education, Perry noted the average cost of salaries and benefits will increase by $1,115 before any settlements.
This is due to declining enrollment and lower than usual staff turnover.
The anticipated increase in the average cost will surpass the one per cent funding increase of revenues received. Settlements reached with staff will further reduce staffing levels and or other resources above what is required to accommodate enrollment decline.
The budgeted divisional deficit of $1,115,586 is in the instruction block where it will be covered by school operating reserves.
Schools have budgeted to have less than $200,000 in total school operating reserves remaining by Aug. 31, 2013, as they have had to use up their reserves in the 2011-’12 and 2012-’13 school year budgets in an attempt to maintain programs to meet student needs.
“Staffing for both certificated and non-certificated positions have been reduced again significantly in the 2011-’12 budget due to enrollment decline and budgetary constraints,” Perry said. “School operating reserves are budgeted to dwindle to a minimal amount in an attempt to balance their school budgets over the past couple of years.”
However, it is not all doom and gloom.
“There are really good things happening in schools,” Perry said
Perry referred to continued support for First Nations Métis and Inuit programming, relationships, and achievement; the movement towards inclusive practices; the continuation of a partnership to develop Career and Technology Studies teachers; support for leadership development and capacity; and a new technology co-ordinator to infuse technology into instruction.