Board passes a balanced budget for 2016-2017

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Palliser is projecting a balanced budget of about $93.1 million in 2016-2017.

Enrolment is projected to drop by 22 students to 8,085 from early learning through Grade 12. Both high school and early learning enrolment will be down, compared to this year.

Certificated staff is expected to decline by 2.1 full-time equivalent teachers over the division. Non-certificated staff is expected to rise by 1.8 full-time equivalents. The staffing numbers are based on the needs of specific schools, including their enrolment and an assessment of special needs.

The budget does not include any salary increases for staff, aside from incremental increases to pay based on additional years of service, also known as grid movement. Those incremental increases to teachers and support staff will total $765,000.
The budget is based on average annual teacher compensation of $107,000 in salary and benefits.

Secretary-Treasurer Wayne Braun said Palliser will continue to make a priority of meeting provincial class size guidelines at all grades.

Palliser’s instructional and material fees have not changed from $59 per junior high student and $69 per high school student. The board continues to commit $39 per Grade 1-6 student but does not pass on that fee to parents. A technology fee of $35 per Grade 1-12 student is also collected and is unchanged from this year.

The budget shows an estimated $417,000 will be collected at faith-based alternative schools to meet instructional and supply needs directly related to the faith program at those schools. This is the first year the provincial budget document requires a breakdown of such fees.

The budget includes plans for five new school buses, one new vehicle and three replacement vehicles in the division’s fleet. The fleet is assigned to staff who support schools across the division, including Central Office administrators, specialists in technology integration, literacy and behaviour, a colony principal and itinerant teacher and others whose work travel makes a fleet vehicle more economical.

The budget aligns with the board’s three-year education plan and its emphasis on literacy, safe and caring schools and other goals.
Capital reserves will be reduced by $150,000 in 2015-2016 and another $150,000 is budgeted in 2016-2017. In current year, capital reserves are being used to connect Calgary Islamic School Omar Bin Al-Khattab campus to Supernet and continue implementation of human resources, payroll and finance services software. In 2016-2017, budgeted capital reserve spending will include connecting Akram Jomaa campus to Supernet and some Central Office building work.

Palliser’s plant operations and maintenance funding decreased this year, as two Calgary schools (Heritage Christian Academy and Menno Simons Christian School) will no longer receive any lease funding in 2016-2017. The other Calgary schools have never received lease support despite years of lobbying by Palliser.

Palliser’s administrative spending remains within the provincial cap of 3.6 per cent.

The board approved its 2016-2017 budget at its regular board meeting June 21. For complete board highlights, please click here.