Clearview approves deficit budget

The Clearview school board formally approved their budget at the May 24 meeting.
The projected in-year deficit for all budgets for the 2018-19 school year is $1,014,510 (2017-18 Final Budget: $1,792,122).
During the April 19 and 24 concluding reviews of all budget considerations, trustees provided administration with directions to finalize the budget for the formal vote.
They agreed not to change transportation fees even though the overall budget for transportation services is projected with a $102,197 deficit.
In order to maintain service levels and address cost increases due to fuel prices and the carbon tax levy, transportation services will be supported through an instruction supplement allocation of $100,000 and a drawdown in reserves of $2,197.
Though expecting a reduction in provincial funding for Family School Liaison Workers, trustees decided to maintain this vital service for students using Inclusive Education dollars.
To support early learning, $160,000 will be allocated toward additional teaching staff to support full-day kindergarten at Stettler Elementary School.
The biggest onetime expenditure increase is a pilot program expected to cost $200,000.
Clearview Public Schools and Wolf Creek Public Schools will begin a partnership in 2018 and 2019 to provide additional supports for high school students to be successful in graduation and diploma exams.
For numerous years, Clearview Public Schools has been deficit spending, drawing down on reserves to meet operational needs.
Total operating reserves are projected to decrease by 73 per cent from $4,928,941 at August 2010 to $1,345,790 at August 2019.
By end of 2018-19 the ability to continue with the current operating model may be challenged due to lack of resources.
According to Associate Superintendent Peter Neale, once the reserve money is spent, Clearview will have to change their behaviour.
As early as the next budget cycle, the board will need to seriously begin planning to erase budget deficits.
With the decline in enrollments and continuing cost increases, services to students will to be impacted in future years.
Reductions in services may include staffing, centralized support services such as inclusive education, and the ability to maintain transportation routes and school facilities.

Linda Stillinger
ECA Review

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