By Greg Nikkel
The Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division passed their 2019-20 budget at their monthly board meeting on Wednesday evening, and balanced it by borrowing funds from their accumulated surplus.
Chief financial officer Lisa Wonsiak told the board that Holy Family received a one-per-cent funding increase in the provincial budget, which was less than the funding increase of 1.4 per cent that was given generally to school boards across the province.
“The one per cent is still a shortfall from the cuts of 2016-17. We had to use our surplus to balance the budget,” said Wonsiak.
“It basically covered the increase in the teachers contract, but it didn’t cover any inflationary costs. It did not meet the needs of the division,” she added, noting that they will have a higher enrolment next year so more teaching staff will need to be hired.
Holy Family had to add about $587,000 to their budget to cover the increased costs of staffing.
Another factor for next year’s budget will be the implementation of the new province-wide student information system, MySchool Sask, which was put off for a year by the Ministry of Education.
“It didn’t get deployed this year, so it stayed in the budget for the next year,” said Wonsiak, noting that the ministry is expecting the school division to pay for training of their staff in the new student information system. The school board is also responsible for the ongoing costs, such as licencing for the system.
“It’s still on track for implementation in August for the new school year,” she said.
Holy Family did not have to cut any programs or staffing for their budget, said Wonsiak. “We kept our programming and staffing with the increased numbers because of the enrolment. We didn’t make any cuts to balance our budget.”
She said this kind of pressure is being felt by many of the school divisions around the province.
“It would’ve been a different discussion if we didn’t have the surplus to dip into,” said Wonsiak.