Secretary-treasurer Ray Velestuk addresses a crowd assembled for a forum on school security. Abbotsford News file photo

Abby Schools

Abbotsford School District expects budget funding announcement Friday

Budget pressures include shaky surplus position, uncertainties around collective agreement negotiations

The Abbotsford School District expects a funding announcement from the Ministry of Education for its 2019/20 school year on Friday.

The announcement will form the basis of the vast majority of the school district’s revenue, and secretary-treasurer Ray Velestuk said that means the finance department will be busy crafting its budget for the next fiscal year.

“It’s always nice to get our funding right before spring break. So we get the two weeks during spring break to work on the budget, and so we’ll have more information after spring break. Obviously that’s when we’ll have a clear picture of finances for the next year,” Velestuk said.

RELATED: Abbotsford School District fiscal surplus ‘running a little bit thin’

RELATED: Abbotsford school district ‘not panicked’ by added cost of new health tax

Of the school district’s $186.9 million in operating revenue for the current fiscal year, 96 per cent came from provincial grants, Velestuk told a handful of attendees at a district budget information session last week. That means the school district’s budgeting is almost entirely dependent on how much the ministry will be funding the school district.

With the province currently engaged in collective agreement negotiations with the B.C. Teachers Federation, there remains some uncertainty as to how that may affect the district’s finances in the upcoming fiscal year.

And when it comes to planning for the future, further uncertainties also stand out. The Ministry of Education is also undertaking a review of the funding model, which could affect how the ministry allocates funds to various school districts. However, the ministry has said that no changes will be coming to the funding model for the 2019/20 fiscal year.

Velestuk spoke to some of the budget pressures facing the finance department in crafting the upcoming budget, with one of the foremost pressures being the diminishing surplus.

The budget for the current fiscal year included more than $222 million in spending and around $217 million in revenue, making a deficit of $5.2 million, including an operating deficit of nearly $4 million, drawing the accumulated surplus down nearly to problematic levels.

Among the matters complicating the surplus, Velestuk noted the Ministry of Education’s requirement that the school district take on a portion of the cost of capital projects. In Abbotsford, one major capital project stands out: the upcoming Eagle Mountain elementary school.

Velestuk also noted recruitment challenges – a high turnover rate has caused extra strain in the human resources department in attempting to keep up with staffing needs – along with classroom space requirements for increasing enrolment at the school.

Over the past five years, ASD’s provincial grant revenue has increased from around $150 million in 2013/14 to just shy of $180 million in the current fiscal year.

In large part, the increase in grant revenue has come through growing student enrolments. Notwithstanding, however, is the B.C. classroom enhancement fund contributions in the past few years – roughly $11 million paid to ASD annually – to accommodate a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that allowed teachers to include classroom sizes in their collective bargaining.

Since 2011/12, enrolment has fluctuated to some degree, but trended upward from around 19,200 to the current enrolment just shy of 20,000. By 2020/21, that’s expected to increase to nearly 20,500.

Find more of our coverage on the Abbotsford School District here.

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Gallery 7 Theatre presents Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Abbotsford troupe presents 100th production in its 28-year history

True North Troubadours pay tribute to Peter, Paul and Mary

Group performs at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium in Abbotsford on March 22

Canadian comic Byron Bertram to perform in Abbotsford

Comedian preparing for taping of upcoming album Passport and Prozac

Woman wins appeal, gets workers’ comp from crash during commute

She was driving an employer-owned vehicle when she crashed on Hwy 1 in Abbotsford on her way to work

Gas prices spike in Lower Mainland

Two of B.C.’s major fuel suppliers are undergoing maintenance

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Facebook announces changes to political advertising to meet new federal rules

Bill C-76 bans the use of money from foreign entities to conduct partisan campaigns

National Arts Centre spotlights Indigenous and female artists in upcoming season

Other musical offerings include a salute to Canada’s Indigenous composers

Travel expected to be slowed by fallout from fire at Toronto’s Pearson airport

All U.S.-bound flights from Terminal 1 were cancelled Sunday night after the fire broke out near a security checkpoint

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Leivo nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Stars 3-2

Schaller scores first 2 goals of season for Vancouver

UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

Scientists analyzed beehives in high density urban areas to those off on Galiano Island

Most Read