SD83 Preliminary Budget 2021-22 and Public Input

SD83 Preliminary Budget 2021-22 and Public Input

During this year’s budget development process, SD83 has continued to find ourselves in an unusual and challenging time; one of uncertainty, unpredictability and change. As we prepare for the financial pressures that lie ahead, we encourage ourselves to focus on our core systems and programs that best meet the needs of our school communities, and to pay particular attention to long-term sustainability and balance, in an effort to manage the impact of external challenges that inevitably lie ahead, commented Secretary Treasurer-CFO Alanna Cameron in her presentation of the SD83 draft preliminary budget at the public budget consultation meeting on Monday.


School District No. 83 is a growing district that encompasses several distinct communities as well as four First Nations bands, and serves the growing learning needs of approximately 6,500 students.
The Board’s mission is:‘To engage all students in meaningful and relevant learning experiences that develop their knowledge, skills, attitudes, creativity and the pursuit of personal success.’ 
The District has a strong focus on literacy, numeracy, and social responsibility, and follows an inclusive model with itinerant professionals providing support services to students within their neighbourhood schools.

As per the Board’s adopted Budget Development Guiding Principles, the priorities established within the District Strategic Plan are used as a regular reference point to provide direction and guide all decision-making with respect to the allocation of resources. The Strategic Plan is a key component in the Districts commitment to improving the learning and working environment of all students and staff.

As per the School Act, one of the primary responsibilities of an elected school board is to pass, by bylaw, a balanced annual budget for each school year on or before June 30 of the year prior. The Minister requires revenues and related expenditures to be tracked in three major categories:·   Operating Funds,  Special Purpose Funds·      Capital Funds
Special Purpose Funds are typically allocated or generated on an annual basis and are provided for very specific purposes or initiatives. The Board has little autonomy on how these funds are spent (e.g. Classroom Enhancement Fund, Annual Facilities Grant, Community LINK, Ready Set Learn and School Generated Funds).

Capital Funds are provided by the Minister in response to the Board’s approved 5-Year Capital Plan submission. These funds are allocated specifically for the purchase and long-term maintenance of the district’s major capital assets.

Operating Funds are intended to provide for the day-to-day operations of the school district, including instructional programs, school and district administration, facilities operations and maintenance, and transportation. With the exception of targeted Indigenous Education funding, Boards have the autonomy to allocate operational funding as they deem appropriate. Though districts have the ability to generate operating funds locally, through ventures such as facility rental, interest generation and international student programs, the bulk of operating funds are provided by the Ministry.

To advise and assist with the 2021-22 Operational Budget development, the Board accessed its Budget Committee. The committee consists of representation from all partner groups: Teachers, Support staff, First Nations, Principals and Vice Principals, Parents, and District Staff. The purpose of this working group is to provide the Board with representative advice on budget issues and implications of proposed changes, and to allow for an interactive forum for open communication and understanding of the budget

At it’s Regular Meeting of December 15, 2020, the Board of Education adopted an initial draft of the Preliminary Annual Budget Timeline and Process. An updated/current version of this document is available here. In response to the on-going pandemic situation and the restrictions on group gatherings, all meetings have been held electronically.

• Revenue from Ministry of Education
The Board of Education’s annual budget process begins each year in February. A three-year student full-time enrolment (FTE) projection summary for the following school year is required to be submitted to Ministry by mid-February.

Based on these projections and the funding rates established by government, a preliminary summary of operating grants is provided to all districts by mid-March.As announced on March 12, 2021, the Ministry of Education’s Operating Grant block funding rates will change as follows:
The resulting effects of these per student rate changes along with our projected increase in student enrolment of 112.935 full time equivalent (FTE) students, combined with other Ministry of Education grant allocation changes for 2021-22 are as follows:
Labour settlement funding for teachers has been rolled into block funding for 2021-22. The over-all impact of all funding changes will result in an expected increase of $3,229,425 in funding from the Ministry of Education for 2021-22.

• Provincial Grants – Other
Industry Training Authority (ITA) funding is projected to increase by $43,000 as enrolment in dual credit and exploratory trades programs is expected to increase as we anticipate a return to “post COVID normal.” An additional Pacific Sport Grant has been confirmed for 2021-22. These anticipated increases result in an over-all increase of $118,725 in other provincial grants.

• Other Fees and Revenue
International Student enrolment is expected to increase in 2021-22 resulting in an expected increase in revenue of $151,900.

• Rentals and Leases
Rental agreements for school district facilities are expected to increase to pre-COVID norms resulting in an increase of $33,000 in rental revenue for 2021-22.The total over-all anticipated operating revenue increase for 2021-22 is estimated at $3,533,050 
as follows:
Each year, the district initiates its budget discussions with a review of unavoidable costs pressures and anticipated savings. Expected changes for 2021-22 are as follows:
Benefit Premiums
Based on the annual renewal rates provided by the district’s benefit plan administrators, combined with known or anticipated changes to pension contribution rates, WSBC premium rates and/or statutory benefits rates, our Director of Finance conducts an in-depth analysis in order to estimate possible budgetary impacts for benefit provisions for the subsequent year. Based on this analysis, it is expected over-all benefit costs, for all employee groups, to increase by $442,000 for 2021-22.
Wage/Compensation ImprovementsTeachers – expected costs for the negotiated 2% wage increase for all teaching staff effective July 1, 2021, based on 2020-21 staffing levels, is estimated at $640,020.
CUPE – expected costs for the negotiated 2% wage increase for all support staff employees effective July 1, 2021, based on 2020-21 staffing levels, is estimated at $290,140.
Principals and Vice Principals – expected costs for a 2% general wage increase for all principals and vice principals effective July 1, 2021, based on 2020-21 staffing levels, is estimated at $105,600.Excluded Staff and Trustees– expected costs for a 2% general wage increase for all excluded staff effective July 1, 2021, based on 2020-21 staffing levels is estimated at $44,650.
Enrolment Growth/Decline:
Classroom and Non-enrolling Teachers – Enrolment projections indicate an increase of approximately 113 FTE students for 2021-22. Though additional students would typically force the need for additional teaching staff, through efficient class organization and configuration, classroom teaching staff levels will remain status quo for 2021-22. The preliminary teacher staffing plan meets or exceeds all required staffing ratios as per the SD83/NOSTA collective agreement 
School Fees and General Supplies – With an increase of approximately 113 FTE students for 2021-22 in our bricks and mortar schools, based on formula, an additional $11,800 will be required for classroom fees and supplies. An additional $23,210 will be required to support the additional distance learning students anticipated for 2021-22, as well as an additional $48,010 for growth in international student enrolment.
Identified Special Needs Students – Enrolment of students with identified special needs is expected to increase by approximately 10.3% in 2021-22. Associated additional costs to support this increase in enrolment is estimated at $820,000, which will be allocated primarily to additional Certified Educational Assistant and School Support Teaching time. Career Education – An increase of $67,500 in Career Program supports is expected due to an associated increase in student Trades Program enrolment.
General Inflation – the BC Consumer Price Index for 2020-21 has not yet been published (available April 2021), however, based on recent monthly data, it is expected that inflation will drop to 0.8%. Based on this preliminary estimate, the annual inflationary cost on supplies and materials is $77,800 for 2021-22.
Utilities – Effective April 1, 2021, hydro rates will increase by 2.7%, resulting in an increased utility cost of approximately $24,000 for 2021-22.
Custodial Services – Though government has optimistically advised that school districts should plan to return to a “Stage 1 – Learning as Usual” environment effective September 2021, in an effort to reduce staff/student anxiety and manage risk, we are proposing to continue with heightened cleaning levels throughout the district, at least through to winter break 2021. As additional COVID funding will not be available next year, costs for this initiative will be borne by the district. Continuing with current custodial staffing levels, day-time custodial shifts, and full-time custodial replacement for half of the 2021-22 school year, will result in an estimated increase of $489,892 for staffing costs, as well as an additional $59,600 for required/associated cleaning supplies/equipment.
Telephone Land Lines – As the district transitions to Teams phone lines, land lines will no longer be required. Based on the school that have/will transition over the course of 2021-22, the land line budget has been reduced by $29,000.

In order to ensure long-term operational efficiencies and sustainability, the following additional equipment purchases are proposed for 2021-22:
Bus Engine Replacements – the district continues to experience significant challenges with the Maxforce DT bus engines related to emission equipment requirements causing premature engine failures. These engine failures are occurring between 200,000km and 240,000km, which is long before the 325,000km which qualifies them for capital replacement funding from government. The district expects the need to replace 4 engines in the fleet in 2021-22, and the cost for this is estimated at $40,000.

Student Transportation Software and Tablets – The district is proposing to replace its current server-based routing and planning software program with a web-based system that will communicate more effectively and directly with drivers, parents, the mechanics shop and dispatch. Up-to-date maps will be more accessible. Parents will be able to see what time the bus is expected at their home through an app that communicates with the GPS system. The district will gain the ability to monitor both the white and school bus fleets, and maintain a preventative maintenance program. In conjunction with this initiative, the district is also proposing to re-instate tablets for school buses that will provide route, student and street information to drivers in real time. It will also record pre-trip information and duty status information (currently being recorded on paper). The cost for this initiative is estimated at $126,500.

Zero Turn Mower and Trailer– Replacing the mower and trailer that is at end of serviceable life with a zero-turn mower and a matched trailer will avoid high repair costs and improve the efficiency of staff. The new equipment improves the safety for staff with a lower and easier to load system. The estimated cost for this proposed equipment replacement is estimated at $20,000.

The following initiatives and additional supports/resources are proposed for budget 2021-22:
Inclusive Education
Inclusion Resource Teacher – With the reduction of the role of Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, the role of the Director of Instruction has expanded to include support for the District Principal portfolios (Numeracy, Early Learning, Career Ed, International, Inclusive Education, Indigenous Education, in addition to the K-8 schools and professional learning). This, in turn, has also significantly increased the workload of the District Vice-Principal (VP), particularly over the course of the last 18 months as we transitioned to MyEdBC and CBIEPs. The increase in student population and designated students since 2016/17 has also had a significant impact. There are a number of tasks currently being done by the District VP that could easily be assigned to a District Inclusion Resource Teacher, thereby increasing service to schools. The estimated cost for this proposed increase is $104,310.

Instruction and Curriculum
Seamless Transitions Pilot Project – The Ministry of Education now has a mandate to support before and after school childcare in schools. To support this mandate, the Ministry of Education is providing Districts who would like to pilot this program with $50,000 to support the wages and benefits for one Early Childhood Education (ECE) Worker. The expectation is that the District would match this funding by providing $50,000 for a second ECE Worker to provide before and after school childcare. The added benefit is that this ECE Worker would also be available to support the Kindergarten class in the chosen school.

Transforming Assessment K-12 – An increased budget of $197,756 is being proposed for release time and associated supplies for the following initiatives as per the District Education Plan:
Transforming Assessment K-12:
“Giving Students a Say” Secondary Assessment with Myron Dueck
K-8 Communicating Student Learning 

Continued work with National Math leader, Dr. Peter Liljedahl
School-based data conversations
Heggerty Phonological Awareness Program (Kindergarten/Gr. 1)
Powerful Writing Structures, Adrienne Gear
School Improvement Plans with Observable Impact, Cale Birk 
Communities of Practice (professional learning & inquiry series)
Teacher mentorship & Induction

Physical Literacy – The District has been successful in being chosen as a pilot district for Physical Literacy, that will bring some cost sharing to the district. A budget of $40,000 will be required for staff training costs, school champion costs and additional costs associated. Nationally students are now more than ever, unfit, and in many cases approaching rates of 35% obesity. Health and Wellness is both a district goal and also correlates with improved academic outcomes. This is an effort to support all our students and educators with a systematic approach to Physical Literacy.

Student Information System (SIS) Level 1 Support Position: In light of the work load pressures that continue within the Information Technology Department that result from the recent transition to the MyEdBC with respect to the need to reengineer business processes and cycles (where possible) that have been built over the last 21 years. These tasks are proving to be massive, time consuming, and require collaboration with most departments in the district. This continual change of processes and business cycles in all areas of the District continue to keep staff at or over capacity. This effort will need to continue through the coming years. In an effort to address work load concerns, the district is proposing an addition of a .5 FTE SIS Level 1 support staff position at an estimated cost of $27,000.

Should you wish to share your views on the proposed budget considerations, you are invited to complete the online survey. This survey will be open from Monday, May 10th through to Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 at noon.
Individuals wishing to provide written submissions are asked to email them to before end of day on Monday, May 17th, 2021.
Please note: All submissions to the Board are considered public documents. The Board therefore reserves the right to make any submissions available to the public and to place them on the district website.
Thank you for taking the time to review our 2021-2022 Preliminary Budget Development Summary

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