Delta dodges $2-million school deficit

District balances operating budget for upcoming school year without making cuts affecting classrooms or programs.

Despite facing a shortfall of more than $2 million, the Delta School District has balanced its operating budget for the 2015-16 school year.

Delta’s Board of Education passed its preliminary budget for the coming school year at a public meeting Tuesday (April 28).

The district said the shortfall was due to a number of factors, including the carry-forward of a $1.5-million deficit from the current school year (2014-2015), as well as increased teacher and education assistant staffing requirements, inflation of employee benefits and utility costs.

Still, the district managed to balance the books for next year with “limited negative impact.”

About $1.5 million was available to reduce the 2015-16 shortfall through higher-than-projected revenues from the district’s international student program and an allocation of one-time funds from the province announced in December. The rest of the shortfall will be covered mostly by anticipated hikes in revenue from international programs, continuing education and investment income. About $100,000 in savings was also found by reducing some clerical and facilities costs at the school board office.

No cuts were made to classroom staffing or student programs.

Delta’s budget process was considerably less painful than in past years, when difficult and controversial cutbacks were made in order to balance the books. Last year, for example, about 17 teacher and education assistant positions were axed.

Under B.C.’s School Act, school districts are required, by law, to submit a balanced budget by June 30 each year.

 

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