An early look at budget projections for the North Okanagan Shuswap School District suggests the 2018-19 budget will be in the black.
Official School trustee Mike McKay says an increase in student enrolment will result in a fairly substantial chunk of funding from the government.
“We look at something close to three million dollars increased funding coming in if our enrolment holds as we believe it will. And then we see the associated costs.”
Those costs are just over 2.4 million dollars leaving about 520 thousand dollars in extra revenue.
But McKay notes that money would be spread between new programs and sustaining current ones.
McKay says Monday night’s budget meeting heard some powerful presentations on proposed new initiatives, but spending will be careful.
“And make sure that what we do with the available funds is something that’s aligned with our core purpose, which is stated in our strategic plan. It’s sustainable so we’re not turning the tap on and off and on and off every year or two and it makes sense as part of a long term commitment.”
The meeting heard various ideas on the district’s needs for next year, including maintaining and expanding counselling services and creating spaces for kids dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues.
“They certainly spoke to some of the same issues around social and emotional health that we know kids have to have in order to learn, and that’s a big conversation in education, in our communities right across the country and beyond.”
A grade eight student from A.L.Fortune school spoke about the gifted program at that school
The program provides opportunities for kids who are identified as gifted to have some different learning opportunities.
The boy, named Ash, told the meeting the program needs more funding.
Mike McKay says the message was that the program doesn’t deliver to the extent that it could or should in order to support gifted students, that it needed to be more consistent with a wide range of opportunities.
Senior staff now have to put together recommendations for a budget committee meeting May 7th.
From there, a preliminary budget would be drawn up to present and adopt at a public board meeting May 22nd.