Skip to content

School District 46 reviews preliminary budget and strategic priorities

With a conservative yet optimistic approach, SD46 allocates funds for student affordability, technology upgrades, and environmental initiatives

School District 46 (SD46) received a preliminary budget summary during its April 23 operations meeting.

Nicholas Weswick, SD46 secretary-treasurer said that the school district’s high-level budget priorities are covering structural shortfall, addressing inflationary pressures and accomplishing their educational strategic priorities. To do these things, SD 46 has had to carefully assess areas they can “let go” while minimizing the impact for students, he said. 

Weswick said one consideration for the budget is the significant increase to sick leave costs. 

The district has committed $39.2 million to school allocations and $20.5 million toward district departments, which Weswick explained covers inclusion support services, facilities, finance and technology. 

Weswick highlighted a new funding stream introduced this year, the Indigenous Education Council Support Funding. Through this, $69,540 will support the secretariat function for the Indigenous Education Council. He said that this education council has been established in legislation to support and help collaborate with the district and approve funding related to targeted Indigenous dollars received. 

He described the budget as “conservative but not unreasonably so.”

Warwick noted a $8,306 decrease in the provincial Feeding Futures Fund (which invests in building and expanding school food programs) revenue, saying he wasn’t sure why that happened and that it was disappointing. 

Allocations and spending

Weswick said $128,000 was allocated to the Student and Family Affordability Fund, and  he expects the majority of it will carry into next year’s operating budget. The fund offsets costs for parents and students.  After next year, Weswick said he anticipates this fund will go toward areas such as extended experiences, providing transportation and supporting field trips, and other high-cost programs. The funding will also go toward a rising need for clothing. 

A garbage, compost and recycling funding stream is a new allocation, supporting costs as the district moves toward more compost operations and the cost of garbage removal continually increases. 

Expenditure surplus

Surpluses from last year’s spending, which will be included in this year’s preliminary budget were also discussed.  

The school surplus general allocation received $500,000. Weswick explained this is a school-based unrestricted surplus that uses a decentralized model that assists schools in building their budget plans. 

School needs-based deferred allocation, a practice where the district sets aside funds that can or will go out to schools once enrollment is confirmed, received $250,000. 

Strategic plan implementation will be funded by $200,000 from the surplus. Communicating student learning is set to receive $150,000, which is used to provide workshops, lunch and learns, and other staff resources.  Equity, diversity and inclusion programs will receive $50,000.

Leadership development will receive $25,000, supporting existing and aspiring leaders in the system. 

Infrastructure improvement in the technology department is set to receive $116,587, which will go toward equipment replacement and professional services.

The operations committee will bring the preliminary budget to the school board for approval. 

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.