The Abbotsford school district is planning for another significant enrolment jump next year as it prepares its next budget.
The district is planning for 174 more students next year, a jump that would bring total enrolment to 19,128. Last year, the district saw an unexpected enrolment increase of 190 students, defying a projected decrease.
Enrolment across the province had been dropping in recent years before an unexpected jump last fall. A shortage of housing, and population data, suggest more people are moving to the Abbotsford area both from Metro Vancouver and from Alberta, as that province experiences a drop in its economic fortunes.
The preliminary budget presented to school board trustees Tuesday suggests the district is facing a projected deficit of $4 million if it declines to make cuts.
The budget proposes the district slash the amount it spends on supplies ($1 million), pro-D spending ($280,000), and substitute employees ($600,000). Spending in those areas would remain above the provincial average even with the proposed cuts.
Along with reduced salaries, increased revenue, and the elimination of one-time costs, the proposals would bring the district back into the black.
However, $950,000 in planned new funding would cause the district to dip into its cash reserves to the tune of $745,000. The district’s operating fund stood at $12.1 million at the beginning of the year.