Provincial education funding up, but not in SD 27

The provincial government has announced global increases in funding for public education in British Columbia, but School District 27 (SD 27) will still be struggling to balance its annual budget, says secretary-treasurer Bonnie Roller.

“Ministry funding is only one part of the budget process, remembering the board used $400,000 from prior years carry forward to balance this year’s budget that will not necessarily be available for 2011/12.”

During the next few weeks, Roller says she will be working on an estimate to present to the board for the end of March and/or beginning of April.

On March 11, Victoria announced that schools in B.C. would collectively receive a new record high of about $4.7 billion in operating funding for 2011/12, which means more than $24 million invested in kindergarten to Grade 12 education every school day.

The $58-million increase is intended to help complete the transition to full-day kindergarten, provide more flexibility and support to students and families throughout the province.

While the province’s global commitment to education may be increasing, SD 27’s share is going down, primarily due to falling enrolment numbers throughout the district.

Roller says the school district will receive $53.5 million for 2011/12, which is approximately $175,000 less than prior years.

“The reduction is due to reduced levels of students in our February and May recounts for Distributed Learning and Continuing Education programs and in the manner these students are funded. They are not included in amounts that are under funding protection by the ministry.”

She adds the district’s final budget for 2011/12 must be passed by the board and submitted to the education ministry by June 30.

“The district has already begun to work on the budget and will be taking this information to the board in late March and early April.”