Estimated operating deficit of $408,000

Prairie Land School Division

The Prairie Land Regional Division (PLRD) 2016-2017 budget “is being presented with an estimated operating deficit of $408,000 and a draw on capital reserves of $491,000”, reported Sharon Orum, PLRD Secretary-Treasurer at their last regular meeting on Thurs., May 26.

“Schools anticipate to draw down their school reserves by approximately $40,000 in the 2016-17 year.”
Orum went on to say  that “the operating budget includes $187,000 of one-time costs that will occur over the next one to three years.”

Orum’s report also stated there will be, “A net increase of 1.46 full time employees (FTEs), both certified and uncertified, with an estimated enrolment increase of 20 full-time equivalent students.”

Orum also said the new carbon tax is estimated to cost approximately $30,000 in 2016-17 and increase to double that number in the following year.

Capital budget items include five buses ($45,000), a cargo trailer for the colony portable library ($16,000) and two passenger vehicles ($60,000) for administrative travel.

The one-time costs included in the operating budget totalling $187,000 include the following items: projectors ($50,000), Ipads ($30,000), teaching and learning ($8,000), health and wellness ($20,000), culture ($10,000) and J.C. Charyk fitness facility equipment ($75,000).

Orum concluded that “ the budget includes the re-establishment of a divisional coordinator position which was eliminated last year.”

School modernization
Phase three and four of the J.C. Charyk school modernization project is still going  ahead over the summer months reports Superintendent  Cam McKeage,  especially the library.

Due to the noise level anticipated with the library renovations plans have changed to begin this portion of the modernization in the summer months when the students will not be in classes as opposed to the originally scheduled fall reno.

Currently the librarian and maintenance staff are packing books and making the necessary arrangements.
McKeage reports that the biggest issue facing students and staff at the moment is finding classroom space as the school continues to move rooms around in anticipation of the upcoming summer project.

Chief Deputy Superintendant named
Marsha Tkach, chairperson of the board, announced that Steve Nielsen has been named as Chief Deputy Superintendant on a term basis.  The term contract details were to be discussed later that day “in camera”.  No further details were available at press time.

Issues on board?
A portion of the May 26 meeting was spent voicing respectful frustration regarding issues surrounding trustee attendance.

Tkach said she was “frustrated with poor attendance this year”, while trustee Angie Warwick expressed her displeasure over having the regular meeting day changed from a Wednesday to a Thursday to accommodate trustees’ schedules, yet these same trustees do not appear to be making the effort to attend on Thursdays.

Trustees discussed implementing a policy which regulated attendance.

Specifically what constituted attendance, for example phoning in to the meeting on conference call or video conferencing and for what specific length of time.

Concerns were voiced for trustees attending meetings for only half an hour but being considered “in attendance” while other comments included technical failure and how that should be reflected in the policy.

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