PRSD presents deficit bud­get tar­geted at lit­er­acy, deeper learn­ing

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Alberta - BY JAMIE RIEGER [email protected]

With de­creas­ing en­rol­ment num­bers ex­pected over the next few years in the Prairie Rose School Di­vi­sion (PRSD), the board has taken steps to in­crease spend­ing in ef­forts to sta­bi­lize those en­rol­ment fig­ures through ad­di­tional pro­gram­ming.

In­creased spend­ing for new pro­grams, such as the South Al­berta Hockey Academy will be money well spent, ac­cord­ing to PRSD Trea­surer Ryan Boser.

"We got a sense in the spring­time that we were go­ing to come in un­der-bud­get, that was after the pre­lim­i­nary bud­get was com­pleted," said Boser. "So, you use that in­for­ma­tion that you have to help gen­er­ate the bud­get de­ci­sions go­ing for­ward."

"It's im­por­tant to us to en­sure that new ini­tia­tives were staffed ap­pro­pri­ately, and en­sur­ing that we have the ap­pro­pri­ate amount of staff to sup­port our stu­dents," he added.

While PRSD is work­ing with a deficit bud­get of $99,610 for the 201819 fis­cal year, an in­crease of $76,235 from the pre­lim­i­nary bud­get that was pre­sented ear­lier this year, the added pro­gram­ming and un­der-bud­get items will help in re­cov­er­ing the short­fall and work to­wards the Board’s goal of bal­anc­ing the bud­get.

In an overview of the bud­get re­port, Boser writes, "Given that the di­vi­sion's re­serves have de­creased to a po­si­tion where they will cover ap­prox­i­mately only two more years of cur­rent spend­ing lev­els, direc­tion was pro­vided by the Board of Trustees to get the 2018-19 Fis­cal Year Bud­get to or close to a bal­anced bud­get."

En­rol­ment for Grades 1-12 de­creased by 84.5 FTE from the pre­vi­ous school year, while av­er­age teacher cost in­creased only slightly.

In the fi­nan­cial fore­cast re­port, Boser notes en­rol­ment will con­tinue to de­cline by an av­er­age of .19 per­cent over the next five years which will re­sult in lower rev­enues in all de­part­ments and will likely also re­sult in re­duced staffing for in­struc­tion.

In ad­di­tion to the added pro­grams, PRSD has in­cluded two main fo­cuses for the com­ing years, ‘Lit­er­acy’ and ‘Deeper Learn­ing’, both of which are re­flected in the bud­get re­port.

"These are the two driv­ers of our next bud­get," said Boser, not­ing that re­sources are be­ing put in place to move for­ward with these goals and will be re­flected in the bud­gets over the next three years.

Main­te­nance, trans­porta­tion, and ad­min­is­tra­tive ser­vices will also be re­duced if provin­cial fund­ing rates are not ad­justed to off­set any in­creases in the cost of ser­vices, util­i­ties, sup­plies, and labour.

Prior to the bud­get meet­ing, trustees met with undis­closed “char­tered pro­fes­sional ac­coun­tants” from Leth­bridge to dis­cuss their cur­rent state of fi­nances. PRRSD’s Candice Hintz, as­sis­tant sec­re­tary trea­surer pro­vided trustees with an overview of the school di­vi­sion’s state­ment of fi­nan­cial po­si­tion.

Boser said their cur­rent fi­nan­cial state­ments show move­ment in the right direc­tion.

"We have a clean au­dit re­port again this year," he said.

Cap­i­tal projects at Schuler School and Ea­gle Butte High School in­flu­enced the num­bers on the in­come side of things with the cash and cash equiv­a­lents de­creas­ing due to these projects, but in­creas­ing on the Ac­counts Re­ceiv­able line with Schuler School at just over $33,000 and EBHS just shy of $983,000.

Mod­ern­iza­tions at Sen­a­tor Ger­shaw School and Bow Is­land El­e­men­tary, as well as the new Schuler School has in­creased the net book value of PRSD build­ings, and will con­tinue to in­crease with the com­ple­tion of the EBHS mod­ern­iza­tion. Still, the net book value for build­ings within the di­vi­sion re­mains lower than all school di­vi­sions and school di­vi­sions of com­pa­ra­ble size, ac­cord­ing to the fi­nan­cial state­ment.

Rev­enues and ex­penses came in un­der what was in­di­cated in the di­vi­sion's spring bud­get. Rev­enues by pro­gram for 2017-18 were bro­ken down in the fi­nan­cial state­ment, with in­struc­tion ac­count­ing for 73.25 per­cent, POM (Plant op­er­a­tions and main­te­nance) at 11.91 per­cent, trans­porta­tion at 10.16 per­cent, and ex­ter­nal ser­vices and ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­count­ing for the re­main­ing rev­enue.

The break-down was sim­i­lar on the ex­pense side with In­struc­tion ac­count­ing for 72.17 per­cent, POM at 12.06 per­cent, and trans­porta­tion at 11.14 per­cent.

The over­all deficit on the ac­tual bud­get com­pared to the pro­jected bud­get that was ap­proved in June, 2017 was $495,890 less than bud­get.

At the time of the pre­lim­i­nary bud­get, it was un­known what changes to Al­berta Ed­u­ca­tion fee struc­ture would look like. As a re­sult, fees came in at more than $220,000 over bud­get. Ac­cu­mu­lated sur­plus came in at $7.4 mil­lion, with tan­gi­ble cap­i­tal as­sets ac­count­ing for ap­prox­i­mately half of the to­tal.

It was also noted that the fall bud­get is a more ac­cu­rate ac­count as it re­flects the ac­tual en­rol­ment num­bers for the school year, whereas the spring bud­get es­ti­mates the en­rol­ment num­bers for the up­com­ing school year.

Prairie Rose’s Candice Hintz made a pre­sen­ta­tion to the meet­ing. Photo by Jamie Regier

RYAN BOSER

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