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

Abby Schools

Abbotsford School District surplus could drop to 1/3 of target range

District targets surplus of $3.8M to $5.8M, but that could drain to $1.3M by summer 2020

If no budget changes are made, the Abbotsford School District’s financial reserves could drop to about a third of the low end of its target range by summer 2020, the school board recently heard.

Earlier this year, secretary-treasurer Ray Velestuk raised concerns about the school district’s accumulated surplus, and returned to the matter in recent budget projections for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

While delivering budget estimates, Velestuk told school board that the district does not expect to be quite as deep in the red this year as previously stated. However, he said the school district still needs “to have a look at our big financial picture of where we’re at” in terms of its unrestricted accumulated surplus.

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

RELATED: Abbotsford School District expects budget funding announcement

Velestuk said the 2018-19 operating deficit is anticipated to rate at around $1.9 million, rather than its current $3.9-million projection. But that’s still expected to bring the unrestricted surplus down to $3 million by the end of the fiscal year, which is about $800,000 below the target range of $3.8-5.8 million – between two and three per cent of the operating budget.

On top of that, the 2019-20 projected operating deficit now sits at $1.7 million, Velestuk said, which would draw the unrestricted surplus down to $1.3 million by summer 2020, just a third of the low end of that target range.

“That is what is a concern,” Velestuk said.

The unrestricted portion of the surplus reserves is of particular concern, as it is what the school district turns to in the case of emergencies, as it has no restrictions on how it can be spent. Velestuk gave the example of the natural gas shortage that resulted from a pipeline explosion near Prince George late in the fall last year.

“That has resulted in us having our natural gas costs escalate to be about $400,000 over budget, primarily because of the rates of natural gas,” Velestuk said. “That is the purpose of an unrestricted surplus is that we don’t have to race out to other areas of our budget and make changes, maybe, or two to adjust for something that is unforeseen.”

By contrast, the restricted surplus may have to be reinvested into the schools from which the surplus came (per school district policy) or back into Aboriginal education (per ministry policy).

“So the next month-and-a-half, work is around how do we maintain our financial health?” Velestuk said. “How do we protect some of that so we don’t live on that edge, if you will.”

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

Trail-cam thief unaware of being on camera

Anyone recognizing the thief urged to contact Abbotsford Police Department

Sumas Mountain vs. Fishtrap; Rd 3 voting opens in best-park bracket

Voting continues in ongoing bracket to determine Abbotsford’s favourite park

Abbotsford police cruiser t-bones civilian vehicle en route to emergency call

South Fraser Way and Gladwin blocked off as police conduct investigation

Matsqui Trail vs. Bateman/Stoney Crk; Rd 3 voting opens in best-park bracket

Voting continues in ongoing bracket to determine Abbotsford’s favourite park

VIDEO: B.C. Mountie killed by drunk driver honoured by memorial playground

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Most Read