Chinook Remains Committed to Priorities
For Release March 24, 2014
On March 19 the 2014-2015 provincial budget was announced in the legislature, with a 3.1% increase in operating funds in the Education sector. The increase included recognition of a significant increase in student numbers in some parts of the province.
Chinook School Division received a minimal increase in overall funding to a total of $81.34 M, based on estimates of student numbers for the next school year. This funding is subject to adjustment when actual numbers are totalled next September. This number also includes funding for non-operational costs, which means our operational funding has been reduced.
Over the last four years, Chinook has averaged less than a 1% increase to cover off all inflationary costs, including salaries and benefits. Chinook has dealt with funding shortfalls by striving to find operational efficiencies throughout the system. There has been a concerted effort to reallocate workload when employees retire or resign rather than fill all vacant positions. However, the pattern of funding that has developed is making it difficult for the division to maintain the level of service that children and families expect and are accustomed to.
"The funding allocation is not keeping pace with the rate of inflation. Like everyone else, it costs us more to do the same thing every year". "The Board is in the preliminary stages of budget deliberations, and we are concerned that long term this may force us to consider choices that our communities would not support," said Board Chair Randy Beler, "Our Board needs to make decisions that will allow our administration to create a balanced budget for Chinook School Division."
Director of Education Liam Choo-Foo expects that the compounded effects of these minimal increases is going to put more pressure on the system, "We've been quite successful in our continued efforts to contain costs, but having to do it year over year is impacting our flexibility to provide for programs and services within Chinook," said Choo-Foo.
As the Board closely reviews spending priorities for the 2014-2015 budget in the next few months they will remain committed to the Strategic Plan, which includes priorities of Math Momentum and Balanced Literacy. Chinook regards numeracy and literacy as the cornerstones of education.
For more information, contact:
Joanne Booth, Communications Coordinator
Chinook School Division
Phone: 306-778-9200 Ext 218