School finance: District 10 Arrow Lakes ahead of the game this year

Careful budgeting, a relatively illness-free year for staff - there's probably a few reasons School District 10 Arrow Lakes is ahead of the game financially this year. The board heard a report on April 26 from financial comptroller Natalie Veregin that showed that as of April, the district still had almost 40 percent of its budgeted money intact - quite a feat as the end of the school year looms, said Superintendent Walter Posnikoff.

  • May. 6, 2011 8:00 a.m.

Careful budgeting, a relatively illness-free year for staff – there’s probably a few reasons School District 10 Arrow Lakes is ahead of the game financially this year.

The board heard a report on April 26 from financial comptroller Natalie Veregin that showed that as of April, the district still had almost 40 percent of its budgeted money intact – quite a feat as the end of the school year looms, said Superintendent Walter Posnikoff.

“We’re doing very well on our target pieces – usually we have 28 percent left by this time, and this year we have 38 percent left,” he said.

“We’re going to finish this fiscal year pretty well – we’re doing an analysis. Some of the labor costs haven’t been as high – we’ve had a ‘healthier’ year,” he said, a reference to a chart showing lower average hours of illness per employee.

“We’ll have some carry-forward money. We’re not at the end of the year yet, and we’re always cautious, but compared to the last two years, we’re in pretty good shape.”

The district has a 2010-2011 operating budget (amended preliminary as of January) of $7,803,599, as well as an additional $46,090 in Aboriginal Education funds carried over from 2010.

The district’s unallocated surplus of $84,756 remains unchanged from the January report, according to last Tuesday’s report.

The 2010-2011 interim operating grant of $7,287,912 reflects an increase of funding of almost $80,000, due to Distributed Learning Growth and special needs enrollment growth, as reported earlier in the Arrow Lakes News.

The annual facilities grant budget (AFG) of  brought total funds allocated in the capital budget to $639,914, with an unspent balance for the year of $250,891.

Total capital reserves available for new facilities projects is $223,770.

Monthly trend analyses show sick leave among district staff rolls is running average.

The district has had no major contractual labor cost increases (excepting staff incrementation). The payroll will be affected by potential increases in staff to implement full-day kindergarten, the report said.

The projected surplus is expected to run similar to that of last year, which was about $100,O00.

Other district budget numbers for the year include instruction – $3.627 million for salaries, which expands to $5.425 million when benefits, services and supplies and materials are factored in.

An estimated $935,586 budgeted for administration includes $532,031 for salaries.The operations and maintenance budget of $1.096 million includes $475,533 in salaries.

The transportation budget of $391,895 includes $201,757 in salaries.

According to provincial Ministry of Education’s capital management branch figures, the Arrow Lakes District 10 AFG projected allocation is one of the smallest in B.C. at $293,707.

The only smaller AFG allocation goes to Nisga’a, with $255,389. The provincial total is about $110 million.

Other regional Annual Facility Grant allocations includes Kootenay Lake, District 8, with $1.314 million, District 19 Revelstoke with $307,415, District 20 Kootenay-Columbia with $911,727, District 22 Vernon with $1.676 million and District 23 Central Okanagan with $3.693 million.

Two B.C. districts on the list of 60 districts around the province went into the eight figures with their AFG – District 36 Surrey with $11.108 million, and District 39 Vancouver with $10,524 million.

District 10 Arrow Lakes’ AFG allocation has fluctuated some. In the 2007/2008 school year, it was $293,474.¬†In 2008-2009, it was $209,915, and in 2009/2010 it was $149,524. In 2010-2011, it was $136,173, and in 2011/2012, it is expected to be $293,707.