The Delta School District says it will take a “gentle, sustainable and measured approach” to balance its latest operating budget.
The budget for 2021/22 has a $2.72 million shortfall due to a number of factors, including increased costs and reduced revenues, but no reduction in staffing levels are proposed to balance the books.
“We’ve really tried and we are hoping very much that this will reduce some stress for students and staff and parents for this coming year which, of course, is still very challenging with the pandemic not being over yet,” said secretary treasurer Nicola Christ in a media briefing earlier this week. “We set ourselves a three-fold objective to deal with the budget.
“We’ve been trying to transition out of the pandemic gently. We’ve been trying to reduce costs from our budget that have the very least impact, and we’ve been trying to protect the district from financial risk by not using reserves in a risky manner, but by using reserves for expenditures that will eventually, we believe, disappear again as a result of them being temporary.”
The school district plans to balance the books in several ways including, among other things, using reserves, removal of newer contingency funds as well as realize savings in several areas including reduced academy staffing due to the pandemic.
Because the school district also made general education classrooms more inclusive and equitable for students with unique needs, there has been reduced demand for transportation services to take students to resource rooms at other sites, according to the district, which notes the removal of those funds from the budget will not have a negative impact to staff or students.
Some of the other savings include adjustments to the Curriculum and Learning Support Grant costs to align with reduced Ministry of Education funding.
The district anticipates a growth in enrollment of 35 full-time students for the 2021/22 school year, bringing the student total to 15,586.
The draft budget is available for the public to view on the school district’s website at https://www.deltasd.bc.ca/.
The public can provide feedback at the board of education’s draft budget input meeting on Tuesday, May 4 via Zoom conference call or email.