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With uncertainty regarding potential budget impacts of the teachers’ strike and a delay in provincial education funding details, the Surrey Board of Education avoided significant new or expanded program costs earlier in the school year.
As a result, an anticipated budget surplus of $8.7 million projected for the end of June 2015, will balance the 2015-16 operating budget of $618 million. The budget is based on an enrolment projection of almost 69,500 full-time equivalent students, an estimated 200 additional students.
The district will receive $593 million in provincial operating grants after the $3.5 million reduction in administrative costs mandated by the Ministry of Education. Funding from district revenue sources, such as International Education and facility rentals, will contribute $19 million; $3 million more than last year.
“This budget does not come without challenges which include finding savings to fund contractual obligations, and infrastructure costs associated with a new provincial learning network,” says Surrey Board of Education Budget Committee chairperson Terry Allen. “We also continue to have to find funding for BC Hydro increases and increased benefit costs, and of course, one-time surplus funds cannot be relied upon to support ongoing programs.”
Eighty-six per cent of the total operating budget is dedicated to instructional and classroom support; 11 per cent to the operations and maintenance of schools and district facilities, two per cent for district administration (the lowest in the province), and one per cent on transportation.
Overall, the district plans to increase the number of staff positions by eight, including 23 more full-time equivalent education assistant positions.
The final school district operating grant will be based on the September 30, 2015 enrolment count and any adjustments to the preliminary budget will be made after that date.
Operating funds, along with special purpose funds and capital funds amount to a $699 million total 2015-16 preliminary budget. All figures have been rounded.