School District #52 has $600,000 surplus to spend

School District 52 has some options on what to spend over $600,000 of surplus funds.

School District 52 has some options on what to spend over $600,000 of surplus funds after the amount was confirmed when the board finalized the numbers in their 2011/2012 budget last week.

On Tuesday, January 9, the board passed the first two readings of the Amended Annual Budget Bylaw, with the third and final reading scheduled to take place at next month’s school board meeting being held on Tuesday, February 14, 2012.

According to the School Act, each district must submit its approved budget for the next fiscal year before June 30, and amend it again after the fiscal year starts, to confirm the numbers.

“This surplus at this point arises partly from a small increase from the forecast revenue that we had from the Ministry…And net savings from a few other areas in the budget,” explained Cam McIntyre.

The board now must decide what $641,576 of forecasted unallocated surplus in the current fiscal year’s budget will go towards, with there being options for education projects, capital projects, or future reserves.

Some education projects suggested for the surplus funds are Soundfield Systems, a sound amplifying system, in kindergarten to grade three classrooms in the district that would cost $60,000 in total to install, putting $50,000 towards the Project Based Learning Budget to reserve for future projects, putting $50,000 towards IUOE staff training to better support the group, or to put $20,000 towards advance IT purchases to ensure new IT items are set up prior to September, something that would become the norm in subsequent years.

Some options for capital projects include an estimated $200,000 for the CHSS auto shop, an estimated $250,000 for the CHSS field, unknown costs towards the consolidated board office, and $400,000 towards the CHSS band room. With an exception to the CHSS band room, the capital projects could be partially funded by the Annual Facility Grant (AFG), however McIntyre still admits all of these projects could not be done in the same year.

Another option would be to put around $250,000 to $300,000 away for future reserves, to reduce the impact of the upcoming reduction in funding protection.

The board agreed it was a good idea to put the funds towards a one time expense instead of forming new groups or adding new staff, as there may not be the same surplus in years to come, which could mean cancellation of groups formed or the lay off of newly hired staff.

To help with the decision, the board has approved an Ad-Hoc Committee that will meet up before next month’s meeting to receive input from the Board’s partner groups on possible uses for surplus funds that can be spent in the current school year.

The board will then review the input when it considers and approves any changes to the amended annual budget bylaw for the 2011/2012 fiscal year at February’s school board meeting.