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Thursday, 22 December 2011 11:35

Chinook School Division’s 2010-11 surplus shrinks by $1.5 million

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By Jessi Gowan — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Chinook School Division’s 2010-11 financial report was presented to the board during its monthly meeting Dec. 12.

According to the report, division officials saw a decrease in revenue surplus this year. The projected revenue surplus for the 2010-11 budget year was approximately $7 million, but the overall reported surplus was shown to be only $5.5 million.
The shortfall can partially be attributed to the Ministry of Education estimating property tax rates as higher than expected.
Rod Quintin, Secretary-Treasurer with the Chinook School Division, feels this is due to the Ministry’s lack of knowledge of how local conditions can affect assessments.
“Also, the Ministry lowered the mill rate for 2011 as part of their budget announcement, but our budget included a mill rate at a higher level,” Quintin added. “At the time, that we did up our budget, that is all we knew.”
In the past, the province has used grants to offset costs. However, this year, the grant was not committed to the Chinook School Division prior to the year-end cutoff date of Aug. 31, resulting in a shortfall in revenue. The division will receive this grant money in the coming months.
“This is an operating grant that we receive annually, but the change this year from previous practice is that we would have normally recognized it as receivable funds, but we were advised by the Ministry not to do that this year,” explained Quintin. “What it boils down to is that we had a shortfall of recognized revenue, which will be made up in the 2011-12 school year.”
Expenses for the year came in slightly lower than budgeted, which did increase the division’s $5.5-million surplus. Some areas were under-expended, but Quintin feels for the most part the overall financial picture is a good one.
“With a low incidence of long- and short-term sick leave, that helped us to keep costs down,” he said. “In the facilities area, we didn’t get as much done as we had hoped due to the unavailability of certain types of contractors. We will be looking into that again this coming year, but since it is so busy elsewhere in the area and there are only so many contractors, it is really driven by what else is going on in the community. It was a successful year, though, and we didn’t see any significant issues.”

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