School District No. 46 (SD46) is starting the 2013-2014 school year by doling out two-thirds of a nearly $1-million surplus to Coast schools.
The decision was made by trustees at this year’s inaugural school board meeting on Sept. 10 after hearing they were left with a $979,657 unrestricted operating surplus from the 2012-2013 school year.
Secretary Treasurer Nicholas Weswick said SD46 regularly budgets to have some surplus funds in the bank for emergency expenditures; however, conservative budget estimates, some unspent salary and supply budgets and a bit of unexpected revenue pushed the 2012-2013 surplus higher than expected.
Last year trustees released $600,000 to schools at the beginning of the year, which was two-thirds of their total surplus.
This year schools will get to share $653,000, which is about two-thirds of $979,657.
“It’s going to be allocated in much the same manner that we allocate our general operating funds to schools. There’s a base component and a per pupil component,” Weswick explained.
“In terms of deciding how the money’s going to be spent, that would be a decision by the principal in consultation with their school communities including conversations with their PACs and other stakeholder groups in their schools.”
Trustees unanimously endorsed sending two-thirds of their unrestricted surplus funds out to schools as soon as possible and they thanked Weswick for his work to secure a surplus for SD46 once again.
“I know it goes unsaid a lot but we really do appreciate all your hard work and the team effort of those people who are behind you,” trustee Lori Dixon told Weswick, adding she was pleased that SD46 is “almost always in the unique situation” of not being “desperate” for more funding.
At the end of the meeting one member of the employees’ union noted she was upset to see such a large surplus when “we still have practices in our school district where we don’t replace people when they’re sick, on union leave or on vacation.”
White noted the school district is not allowed to go into a deficit position, necessitating a surplus each year.
“We’re in a situation where we have over a $35-million budget. We could set our preliminary budget and take a gamble and try to not be conservative at all and put all of the money into the schools, or we can make sure that we’re not going to go into deficit and making sure we don’t go into deficit means that there’s always a surplus,” White said.