The Abbotsford School District head offices. (Black Press file photo)

The Abbotsford School District head offices. (Black Press file photo)

Abbotsford school district spent majority of emergency funds on staffing: report

District laid out spending plan for COVID-19 funds received from province and feds

The Abbotsford School District has laid out its budget for how it is spending millions of dollars in emergency funding from the provincial and federal governments.

Of the $8.6 million the district expects to receive this year, more than half of that will be spent on new staff.

About $3.2 million is going towards paying the salary of about 30 teachers. Another $1.7 million is going towards 36 support staff positions.

In total, about 57 per cent of the COVID money is going towards staffing, according to a report presented to the school board earlier this month.

About $1.9 million in spending is classified as “online learning support,” while $2.5 million is for “transitioned return to school.”

The rest, about $3.7 million, is going towards services, supplies and new equipment.

Secretary-treasurer Ray Velestuk told school trustees that the funding was critical to the district’s ability to adjust to challenges posed by the pandemic.

“We would have been in big budget jeopardy had we not had the federal funds for COVID and the provincial funds for COVID,” Velestuk said. “There’s just no way we would have been able to structure all these transition classes. That would have been very difficult with just the budget that we had.”

The service, supplies and equipment money includes about $415,000 for personal protective equipment and $323,000 for hand hygiene. Trustees heard that, across the province, about $9.2 million was spent on hand hygiene supplies and infrastructure.

Abbotsford’s school district also expects to spend $100,000 on HVAC ventilation.

Other spending areas included:$373,000 for additions and modifications to student transportation services

$35,000 for mental health supports

$130,000 for “staff wellness”

The $8.6 million hasn’t all been received by the district. That figure includes $3.6 million more in federal funding that is anticipated, but which has not yet been officially confirmed.

“It’s our expectation that that will be funded,” Velestuk told school board trustees.

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