No layoffs, no surplus in School District budget

Despite what the Kamloops-Thompson school district’s preliminary budget states, there will be no job losses and no surplus, according to the district’s superintendent.

SD73 unveiled its 2011-2012 budget last week.

It is set at $123.4 million, with $123.2 million in spending.

That leaves a surplus of $174,000 on paper.

But, superintendent Terry Sullivan said, that money has already been earmarked.

“The surplus is $174,000, but it’s a surplus for the First Nations-targeted money, so it’s not a surplus that the school district has to work with,” he said.

“It’s for programs that are directly connected to aboriginal students. That’s where that money has to be spent, but we have to carry it on our books.”

The budget also shows 12 teaching jobs and four support-staff jobs being cut.

Again, Sullivan said, those numbers exist on paper only.

He said the district expects to lose 43 teachers to retirement after the current school year ends, negating the teacher layoffs.

Sullivan said similar attrition is expected among support staff.

“When you look at it, yeah, we cut 12 teaching positions,” he said.

“But, there’s going to be no impact. We will have no layoffs.”

Sullivan said he’s happy with the budget overall.

“It’s a balanced budget,” he said.

“No surplus, no deficit.”

“It’s good, but it’s certainly a reflection of what we had to go through last year. We’re a leaner system, but we’re also a more financially stable system.

“I’m certainly satisfied we’ve done the best job we can do,” he said, “What I like about the budget is it’s put some stability into the system.”

Sullivan said he anticipates future problems for SD73’s bottom line if the province doesn’t re-work its funding formula.

“There’s been zero wage increases [for teachers] the last few years,” he said.

“When the wage freeze comes off and we start to see those wages increase . . . we could see some issues.

“It’s complex and it’s hard to oversimplify it, but it’s making it very hard for us to plan.

“We really need to have a major review of the funding formula.”

By Tim Petruk / Kamloops This Week