Moush Sara John Independent staff
Clearview Public Schools board has approved the 2017-2018 projected (spring) budget, which was presented at the regular board meeting on Thursday, June 15, by Peter Neale, associate superintendent.
Although, the projected budget has a deficit of $561,559, and will be supported through a drawdown in reserves, Clearview will maintain a 15.8 students for each teacher, ensuring that student support is not being compromised.
“The new 45 CEU cap has affected us, resulting in a $270,000 deficit,” said Neale. “Furthermore, the regulations governing the formula for Small Schools by Necessity, and the fact that there will be a decrease of about 1.8 per cent in student enrolment, primarily from high school graduations being higher than early learning enrolments, accounts for the rest of the deficit, primarily.”
However, according to Neale, even with reductions in overall funding, the school division is committed to doing their very best to continue their work.
Deficits in all areas have been reduced from the 2016-17 Final Budget from $1,595,628 to $561,559.
Total staffing is estimated to decrease from the 2016-17 Final Budget by 9.135 FTE to 303.413 FTE, with decreases reflected primarily at the school-level.
Teacher staffing will decrease 1.209 FTE from the 2016-17 Final Budget.
In comparing to 2016-17, Students to Teacher ratios were maintained, representing a school-based ratio of 15.8 students for each teacher (2016-17: 15.9).
“Student success is our first priority, and they will continue to receive our full support” Neale added. “Due to the decline in enrolments and static funding, it was important to continue our strong consultations with key stakeholders.”
During the process, numerous consultation and information sessions were held with trustees, school councils, school principals, and senior leaders.
“All decisions that needed to be made were done with input from our leaders and communities,” Neale commented. “Now that departments and schools know the resources available for next year, school principals have prepared their staffing and expenditure plans for 2017-18. This has been done with the board’s full confidence that the planning ensures the best for our students and schools, and the board approved the budget on this basis.”
Based on the Government of Alberta guidelines, in 2015-16 Clearview Public Schools would have been able to spend up to $1,790,337 on Administration Services and Governance. For the 2017-18 operating year, the amount projected to be spent is $1,458,029 or $332,308 below the guidelines.
Clearview Public Schools has been drawing down on reserves in a planned manner to meet operational needs.
Since August 2010, the total operating reserves are projected to decrease by 69 per cent or $3,409,353, i.e., from $4,928,941 at August 2010 to $1,519,588 at August 2018.
“As projected, at the end of 2017-18 the ability to continue with the current operating model may be challenged due to lack of resources,” Neale further added. “However, even though non-controllable expenditures have continued and are providing financial stress to the system, compounded by lower funding increases from the provincial government, we have ensured that our students continue to receive full support from our end.”