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The Surrey School District continues to grow, with about 850 more school-aged, full-time equivalent students anticipated for the next school year. To meet that growth, the Surrey Board of Education has approved hiring 66 more teachers, 24 educational assistants, 28 support staff and another school administrator for 2018-2019.
Despite the steady enrolment growth, there is no management or professional staff hiring in the budget, with the result that the proportion of spending on district administration will shrink from 2.58 per cent to 2.33 per cent; expected to be the lowest in the province.
The budget notes operating expenditures are projected to increase by about $15 million due to increased staffing and salary costs, as well as a 2.2 per cent inflationary increase in equipment, supply and services costs. The net result of the provincial government's elimination of Medical Services Plan premiums in favour of a new Employer Health Tax will cost the district $3 million more next year.
"Despite continuing funding and cost pressures, the district remains in a very strong financial position," says Surrey Board of Education Budget Committee chair Terry Allen. "I have great confidence that the district will continue to provide exceptional education to our students."
The district's contributions to the construction of Salish Secondary ($9.6 million) and a 200-seat addition to Woodward Hill Elementary ($3 million) are included in the budget. Both projects will be ready for occupancy this September.
The budget projects a total of 73,368 FTE equivalent students in 2018-19, including school-aged, adult and distributed (online) learning students.
Operating funds, along with special purpose and other funds, amount to a 2018-19 annual budget totalling $778 million. The final school district operating grant will be based on the September 30, 2018 enrolment count and any adjustments to the annual budget will be made after that date.