Abbotsford board of education approves $183 million budget

No major changes expected from the previous budget, according to secretary-treasurer.

The Abbotsford board of education has approved a budget of $183 million for the 2013-14 school year.

Ray Velestuk, secretary-treasurer of the school district, said the budget presents no major changes from the previous year, when the figure was about $181 million.

The district is expecting a decline of 174 students for 2013-14, which will result in a slight drop in funding from the province.

He said spending will be adjusted for “enrolment sensitive staffing” and will also be reduced in discretionary areas – for example, in copying and printing costs – and should have minimal impact on schools.

Velestuk said cost pressures arising from mandatory teacher pension plan contributions, teacher salary increments, the return to the provincial sales tax, and other benefit plan increases will be managed within the current budget.

Board chair Cindy Schafer said new initiatives approved by the board include a district innovation centre to be located at Abbotsford Senior Secondary and a proposal for an outdoor education school.

Velestuk said the board has been intentional about keeping permanent reductions away from the classroom, looking for other ways to reduce spending.

Boards of education must approve their annual budgets by June 30 each year. The fiscal year for school districts runs from July 1 to June 30.