After a decade of cuts, the Delta school board has green-lit a new budget with a surplus of $63,000.
On Tuesday night, trustees approved a budget for the 2019-2020 school year totalling $187,017,550. It was approved with none opposed at a board meeting in Ladner.
“This is my eleventh budget, it’s the first budget I have not made a cut in eleven years,” board chair Laura Dixon told the Reporter.
“If we could add $10 million back into our operations, admin, more counselling time for students, everywhere else, I mean we would love to be in that position. We got $60,000. I could spend that $60,000 ten times over.”
Dixon noted that although there were cuts made in last year’s budget, none were made to staffing positions.
While this school year’s budget is healthy, there is no telling what B.C.’s education funding model review will bring this fall. Dixon said that even though she has a sense that other school districts are in good positions because of the increased per-student funding, she still isn’t sure how Delta will fare.
“We actually don’t know what to predict for next year and that’s making us concerned. We’re not very sure what that will mean for us,” Dixon said.
The $63,000 budget surplus for the 2019-2020 school year is going towards the hiring of a human resources co-ordinator “to assist with the growing needs for recruitment and employee services,” according to a press release. The role will be a unionized CUPE position.
For Trustee Val Windsor, passing a budget without any cuts in it felt like a great weight had been lifted off her shoulders.
“I’m relieved more than anything else. We haven’t had an opportunity to started rebuilding the programs that were cut,” Windsor said.
“I’ve sat in many board meetings when I was president of the teachers union and we were all sitting here basically in tears because the board had to pass a balanced budget and the only way they could do it was by making cuts.”
Board vice-chair Bruce Reid said that while this budget is a step in the right direction, there is still further to go.
“I think we are moving a little bit better, closer to getting more funding for things that we really should be funded for. We aren’t there yet, but we’re getting closer,” Reid said.
“I would like to see us keep working with regard to requests from EA’s with regard to giving them extra time for consultation and prep hours.”