(File photo)

Prince Rupert School District 52 finds more funds for 2019-2020 budget

More staffing for PRMS, reversal of cuts, and increase to literacy intervention fund

School District 52 discovered $320,000 within existing funds for its annual budget. The Board of Education used the extra revenue to amend their 2019-2020 budget, reversing cancellations on program reductions and adding funds to existing programs.

Prince Rupert Middle School (PRMS) will receive $100,000 to put toward staffing teachers after the School District 52 board received the new revenue. In March 2019 at the advisory budget consultation, PRMS requested $200,000 for staffing after concerns were raised across the entire school board that staff turnover and retirement was a concern.

READ MORE: Province funds $1,130,00 to upgrade Prince Rupert Middle School

“The board was relieved to learn that there was additional funds available in the budget to meet student needs. The decision made by the board will support staff and students across the district,” said board chair James Horne.

The $50,000 cut taken out of the district careers teacher funding and the $20,000 cut to the district math helping teachers have both been reversed.

On April 9, the board of education adopted the annual budget that saw $115,000 in new spending — mainly to improve literacy levels. An additional $65,000 was added to these initiatives for an intervention plan and literacy speaker series. Results from a literacy assessment revealed that 72 per cent of kindergarten students, and 50 per cent of Grade 1 students are at risk of not meeting the reading requirements by Grade 3.

The remaining money was spent on staff training ($45,000), Roosevelt secretary staffing ($9,500), and a one-time allocation to custodial equipment ($30,500).

The total operating budget is now augmented to nearly $26.46 million. School board policy stipulates that the contingency fund should reflect between two and four per cent of the operating budget. The financial reserve is now at $513,000 representing 1.97 per cent of the budget.

The next school board meeting is on June 11 located on 634 6th Avenue East.

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In the first online publication of this article on May 23, we incorrectly stated that the boost in funding came from the province. The funding was found within the existing school district funds. We apologize for the error.

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