Despite anticipating an additional 857 students in their classrooms this fall, an increase of 3.9 percent, and only getting an additional 1.4 percent in funding from the Alberta government, the Rocky View Schools (RVS) Board of Trustees today (May 21st) passed a balanced 2020-2021 budget.
The budget includes total revenues of $281.4 million and expenditures of $282.6 million and directs 76.6 percent towards instruction for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 students, 14.1 percent to operations and maintenance, 6.5 percent to student transportation and 2.8 percent to governance and administration.
The Board says the budget targets their priorities of direct classroom funding to maximize student success, providing school-based supports for students with complex needs, wellness supports and literacy/numeracy skill development.
Because of the shortfall between revenues and expenditures, the Board plans to redirect funds and use $1.3 million in operational reserves to support classroom instruction, limit fee increases to parents, and balance the budget.
“To support our budget priorities and the feedback heard from stakeholders during our budget consultation process, the Board made the difficult decision to redirect over $2 million from governance, system administration and centralized learning budgets and $1 million from technology and learning commons to the classroom”, says Board Chair Fiona Gilbert. “This enabled the addition of 28 school-based teaching staff to maintain class sizes and increase school-based supports for students."
“Also consistent with our priorities, RVS allocated $15.6 million to schools for inclusive education services and other wellness initiatives, reflecting an increase of $500 thousand to the portfolio.”
According to Gilbert, in an effort to reduce further financial pressure on families during current uncertain and difficult times, increases to school fees were kept to a minimum, with schools directed to not increase existing course fees, refrain from implementing new school-wide fees and eliminate some program fees such as lunch supervision.
In the area of operation and maintenance, Gilbert said RVS will receive an increase of $1.8 million from the province, providing the jurisdiction the opportunity to increase attention towards preventative maintenance projects and facility upgrades to enhance learning environments.
To help offset the continued escalation of inflationary costs in the area of student transportation, the budget reflects an increase in ridership fees from $308 to $375 for students attending their designated school or school of choice.
The Board's budget consultation process ran between February 10th and March 30th. Gilbert says, "As always, the feedback was invaluable and used to help shape our budget and services for next year.”
The 2020-2021 budget will be posted on the Rocky View Schools’ website under "Publications," shortly.