Balancing Surrey school budget ‘trying,’ says trustee

District makes ends meet for 2013/2014 with unspent funds, job reductions.

Surrey school trustee Terry Allen chairs the Education Budget Committee.

Unlike many B.C. school districts that are facing deficits and drastic cuts, Surrey has managed to balance its budget for the upcoming school year.

But it has hardly been easy, said Trustee Terry Allen, who chairs the Education Budget Committee.

The $600-million preliminary operating budget for 2013/2014 is comprised of $573 million in provincial government grants and $15 million from district revenue from things like international student tuition and renting out school buildings.

An additional $12.3 million was found in unspent money from this year, such as funds set aside for snow clearing. And another $4 million in savings is coming through so called “operating efficiencies,” such as reducing expenditures and some job reductions. The district says no one will be losing their job per se, but the overall decrease in 45 positions – including 25 teachers and 17 support staff – will be mainly through attrition.

The budget is based on a projection that there will be 69,798 students in local schools this fall, an increase of just 37 full-time students from this year. While Surrey has in the past benefited from steady increases in student numbers, enrolment is predicted to be “flat” over the next three years, meaning only modest increases in per-pupil grants from government.

Despite student numbers staying relatively stagnant, said Allen, costs continue to rise.

“The board and district must, of course, work within our funding limitations,” said Allen, “and this is very trying as we continually face employee benefits and utility cost increases, as well as the requirement to absorb carbon offsets and costs incurred through increased absenteeism.”

More than 85 per cent of the budget goes toward instructional and classroom support, while two per cent is spent on district administration. The rest goes to maintenance and transportation in the Surrey School District.

Final adjustments to Surrey’s budget may be made after Sept. 30, when actual student numbers are tallied. By law, B.C. school districts must submit a balanced operating budget by June 30 each year.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP look for missing man

Tyler Ridout, 36, last seen near Balsam Crescent and 136th Street

Police watchdog investigating death of man in Delta

Independent Investigations Office asking for witnesses to May 29 incident at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Safe Surrey under fire for ‘sickening’ social media posts accusing RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

B.C. government releases designs for new Pattullo Bridge

Project expected to cost $1.377 billion, completed by end of 2023

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

B.C.’s police watchdog probing death of Richmond man in alleged shoplifting incident

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is asking any witnesses to come forward

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read