Update On 2015-16 Abbotsford School District Budget

Spending Cuts, Increased Fees, Rates And Bussing Costs Proposed To Deal With $5 M Shortfall At Abby School District

Submitted. For the 2015-16 Budget, the school district’s projected deficit is $5 million, which includes $1.4 million in spending from accumulated surpluses previously approved by the Board of Education, and a general shortfall of $3.6 million. Compounded with an additional $800,000 Ministry mandated funding reduction next year, a plan to reduce the deficit is necessary to ensure the financial stability of the district.

The budget includes additional operating grant revenues to support wage and benefit increases for all unionized employees as per Collective Agreements. However operating grants have been reduced by $1.0 million to reflect required administrative savings and an additional $1.4 million in other reduced operating grants.

A number of options have been developed to address the deficit amount without significantly affecting the Board’s Strategic Plan. Spending reductions are potentially planned in centralized education/learning, business, facilities and transportation services. In addition, further reductions are proposed in all areas of discretionary spending for both schools and centralized departments. Options for increasing revenues include increased International tuition fees, increased rental rates, and increased transportation fees. To date, these options reduce the projected deficit by approximately $2 million.

At its April 21st meeting, the Board of Education approved equalizing bussing costs for all riders in the district to $300 per student annually and $500 per family (two or more), effective for the 2015/16 school year. Currently, eligible riders pay $200 per student; with a family rate of $400 and riders to choice schools $350 per student; family rate of $700.

The budget objectives for 2015-16 include:

  • Maintaining current educational programs and services including planned strategic supports.
  • Ensure a reasonable use of accumulated surplus for:  1) planned program spending, and 2) to limit current year spending reductions.
  • Continuing the Board’s diligent approach to expenditure management.

The Board will approve the budget at its May 5th regular public meeting.

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