The provincial education funding announcement is giving the Seine River School Division some hope in dealing with a significant deficit.
School board chair Wendy Bloomfield says they expect to run a deficit of nearly $5 million dollars by the end of the school year.
She notes the province is now giving school divisions an option to increase education taxes, and it will not reduce the amount of provincial funding they receive.
“That is something that we will need to be looking at, seriously, particularly with the financial concerns that we’ve got right now.”
The Seine River School Division is getting $39.4 million in provincial funding, an increase of $2.1 million from last year. This works out to a 5.8 percent increase in total funding from a year ago.
Bloomfield says they are encouraged by the funding announcement and the promise of a new education funding formula for next year.
“We totally endorse that. We think that's a great idea, but we also know from the past couple of years where the previous government was looking at the funding formula... it's not an easy fix either. We recognize that that is important to do, but we realize it's also going to be difficult.”
The funding announcement this year included money for nutrition programs in schools, providing healthy food options for students who are hungry.
Bloomfield says the division will soon have a public budget consultation meeting to explain their budget.
“It will be an opportunity for us to explain to the public what the implications are of the government funding and how it applies to the Seine River School Division and also some of the difficult decisions we're still having to look at because of our financial situation, and having some back-and-forth dialogue with the public about priorities.”
She says they should soon have a date for the public meeting, and it will be posted on the school division’s website.