Clearview school division is going into the budget planning process for the 2016-2017 school year with the confidence of having come out with some $208,000 surplus from the 2014-2015 academic year despite all the cuts, and the ability to spend those dollars during the current school year.
Peter Neale, associate superintendent for business and finance said in an interview that the positive financial results were achieved due to lower fuel prices, reduction in energy resource costs due to a mild winter, lower staff costs than planned, use of in-division staff for student needs testing, and higher high school funding than planned.
“The budget approved Nov. 27, 2014 projected a deficit of $1,106,656, so the additional dollars received during 2014-15 and dollars not spent in schools will provide for an increase in school budgets for the 2015-16 school year,” said Neale.
“Staffing and expenditures have increased in the 2015-16 final (fall) budget allowing for increased supports and services for students, with a planned drawdown on available resources of $1.3 million.”
Referring to the budget planning for the next school year, Neale said their goals for the budget remained as maintaining a predictable funding allocation structure and ensuring that the budget and financial framework reflects the basis for a long-term, stable learning environment for students.
He added that school councils in the division area would be kept informed on the ongoing budget preparation process with presentations giving details of the preparations. These sessions will be followed up in March with a workshop with parents focusing on the division’s budget.
“For our other stakeholders, we do budget conversations and workshops with trustees and division leaders including school principles, which for this year is planned if needed for March,” Neale said.
The division is still waiting to hear from the provincial government, the sole source of education grants, on the level of funding that will be available for the next school year. Neale says he hopes to hear from the government by the end of February.
Clearview focuses on improving Grade 12 diploma results
One of the first motions at the Jan. 14 meeting of the Clearview School Division Board of Trustees was Strategic Priority Action Plan – Priority Three, moved by trustee Ken Checkel and approved by the board unanimously.
“We have many strategies developed after consulting with our high school leadership teams,” said Brenda MacDonald, deputy superintendent, Clearview Public Schools. “These are strategies that will be implemented over the next three years.”
Among them are in-depth review of diploma exam results, examining best teaching and learning practices of 30 level courses, encouraging early identification of students who are struggling and providing targeted support and examining student attendance, course completion and success rates.
“Our students are our guiding principle,” said MacDonald. “These strategies provide strategic direction for our learning community and is meant to be proactive, guiding our decision making and improving the organizational learning and capacity.”
The board of trustees will receive a monthly update on how Clearview is progressing to achieve concrete results with the implementation of these strategies.