2015-2016 budget projection update

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Corporate News

** The outcome of the May 5, 2015 provincial election may mean changes to the 2015-2016 budget. However, Palliser Regional Schools has been advised to continue to plan to submit our budget by May 31 and based on the conditions, restrictions and projections provided before the election was called. Until we hear otherwise from Alberta Education, our projection for a $2.85 million shortfall stands.**


Provincial funding will fall about $2.85 million short of what Palliser Regional Schools needs to maintain current practice, service, staff and program levels, according to updated estimates.

Senior division staff held a conference call with Alberta Education finance staff on April 28th to clarify some of the new funding requirements and restrictions, as announced in the provincial budget March 26.

Palliser’s  Corporate Treasurer Wayne Braun has also completed a review of projected enrolment, provincial and other revenues, including fees from international students, as well as expenses in all operational areas – salaries and benefits, supplies, services and contracts and amortization (the amount of depreciation on the division’s capital assets such as buildings and buses).

As a result of this analysis, Palliser has revised its initial statement of budget impact for 2015-2016, which was shared March 30, just days after the budget announcement.

"We remain deeply concerned the budget will take a toll on students," said Palliser Board Chair Colleen Deitz. "Grants for English language learners, students with special needs, and programs for children with complex needs were all reduced. That will affect the support we're able to offer the most vulnerable children.

"Palliser has always done its best to maintain small class size averages, to support small schools, to keep school bus ride times reasonable in rural areas. We've managed to do this while delivering some of the best results in the province. Our efforts are very much at risk in light of the financial shortfall."

The provincial budget announcement includes an increase in funding in order to cover Palliser’s contractual obligations to teachers (a two-per-cent increase in September 2015 and a one-time one-per-cent lump sum due this fall). However, the budget announcement also reduced almost all other grants by 3.1 per cent. 

Program unit funding for early learners with identified needs, English as a Second Language, First Nations funding, plant operations and maintenance (to pay light and water bills and keep schools clean), small schools by necessity funding were all reduced by 3.1 per cent. Funding for Regional Collaborative Service Delivery which co-ordinates and provides services to children with identified and complex needs was also cut 3.1 per cent.  Inclusive education and Transportation grants were “cushioned,” and funding there will be reduced by 1.9 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively. In addition, funding to Palliser for Infrastructure, Maintenance and Renewal (IMR) has been reduced by $1 million, to $1.1 million. It eliminated the increase announced by the province in October 2014. IMR funds are only to be used to maintain Palliser-owned facilities, such as roof and boiler replacements.

The budget announcement stipulates there is no funding for enrolment growth next year. Palliser is expecting enrolment to remain flat in 2015-2016. Credit Enrolment Unit (CEU) funding for high school credits will be capped in 2015-2016 at the funding levels earned this year.