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BPSD shares 2017/18 budget numbers

posted Mar 6, 2017, 8:53 AM by Kathy Carr
With the new funding announcement that Edu­cation and Training Minister Ian Wishart made on February 1 for Mani­toba Public Schools, the school divisions across the province have been busy trying to put their budgets together for the 2017/2018 school year and it has made for quite the interesting experience. 
Wishart announced that the province will be providing $13.1 million in funding, which is only a one percent increase and the lowest amount an­nounced in recent years. In a press release from the Manitoba Teac­hers’ Society on the day the funding announcement was made, MTS President Norm Gould said “Manitoba’s public schools have long been funded at the rate of economic growth. Today’s announcement doesn’t even meet the rate of inflation, let alone the economic growth of the province.” 
That statement was clearly evident at the Beautiful Plains School Division Budget Meeting on Monday, February 27. The evening meeting at Carberry Collegiate had Superintendent Jason Young and Secretary-Treasurer Shannon Bates present the proposed 2017/18 budget for the Beautiful Plains School Division and how they plan to manage everything. 
The amount that was allocated to BPSD from the government was $100,500 which is a one per cent increase. A side note to add is that Provincial Funding is based on enrollment and the projected enrollment for September 30 2017 is 1796 students, which will be an increase of 43 students over the 2016/17 school year (the growth for the up 2017/18 school year is from Neepawa). Even though the funding from the province is an increase, when it comes to Provincial Funding per Pupil, it’s actually a decrease of $188 or 3.1% per student making Beautiful Plains School Division the third lowest cost per pupil in the province. The Special Needs funding did remain the same as it was in the 2016/17 year.
With that information in mind when it came to do the preliminary budget for BPSD, they knew some changes had to be made and that change was reducing $400,000 from the preliminary budget. The original figure they were looking at for the budget was $824,406, but when the announcement came in, a change was a must. They ended up cutting $163,700 from the Sa­laries and Benefits category, $105,000 from the Services, $31,300 from Computer & Techno­logy and $100,000 from the Fiscal and Capital area. With that $400,000 reduction, it now took them to $424,406 to work with.
With that new figure they had, the school division came up with a revised budget which looks like this.
Regular Instruction - $12,840,200 (3.5% inc­rease), Student Ser­vices - $2,558,700 (4.2% increase), Pre School - $25,500 (15.4% inc­rease), Division Ad­minis­tration - $638,600 (2.5% increase), Sup­port Services - $587,900 (10.6% increase), Stu­dent Transportation - 1,329,200 (3.4% inc­rease), Building Main­tenance - 1,909,900 (3.0% decrease), Fiscal, Trans­fers & Capital - $433,000 (28.9% decrease).
When explaining the figures to the crowd at the meeting, Young said there were a few projects that they were okay with putting off them for another year which helped with the reductions in certain categories. Even with the reductions that were made, the 2017/18 budget actually increased 2.1% over the 2016/17 budget. In their budget for the 2017/18 year, they will be able to add two more full time EA’s  and an additional 2.45 teachers (FTE).
When it comes to the taxes, there will be a 3.8% increase on school property taxes and a 5.7% increase on the special levy rate. After their meeting in Car­berry on the 27th, BPSD had another budget mee­ting in Neepawa on March 1 to continue their budget process. After the public meetings, the budget will be finalized and approved by the Board of Trustees. From there, the Special Levy Rate will be established and the Municipal Gover­nments are notified of the rate changes and then the budget gets submitted to the Province. The whole budget process should be complete by March 31.
Even though it was not the funding an­nouncement anyone was expecting, the Beautiful Plains School Division seems to have made a budget that should work for the 2017/18 school year. 

by Kathy Carr
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