It'll be another needs-based, break-even budget for Border Land School Division (BLSD) in 2024/25. 
Trustees have approved an operating budget of $40,587,010 and a capital budget of $396,400 for the next school year. That's a 5.4 per cent increase in spending. 
"All of our costs have gone up," said Board Chair Patty Wiebe. "Wages, of course, are a big portion and that will always be increasing." 
As well, the added spending will cover increases in fuel, bus repair and custodial maintenance supply costs. "That increase is keeping everything going the way it needs to be going," added Wiebe. 
As for capital spending, that will consist of small upgrades in schools and maintenance of the Division's various properties. 
Although the provincial government lifted the 2 per cent education tax hike cap that had been placed on school divisions for the past number of years, Wiebe says the Board kept fiscal responsibility a priority when crunching the numbers. 
"Budgets are tight everywhere, we realize that. Increasing taxes is not easy for anyone at this point in time, so to be a break-even budget was where we decided as a Board would be in the best interest for our taxpayers for this year." 
"We've been doing break-even budgets for quite a few years already," added Wiebe. "That is discouraging for boards to not be able to dream and have any new plans or new objectives for the division but, at this point, it's something that we feel is important to just keep status quo so as to not burden the taxpayer any more than we had to." 
"The funding from the province was not enough to cover our increased costs, so we rely on taxpayers to assist us in operating the school division," explains Secretary Treasurer Rachel Geirnaert. "Fortunately, BLSD had a surplus at the end of June. The board made the decision to allocate some of that surplus back to taxpayers by applying it directly to the special requirement, and by purchasing our next three buses from this surplus." 
All this being said, local education property taxes in BLSD will still increase 2.78% which is 0.78% beyond the previous 2% cap legislated by the former PC government. A home valued at $200,000 will see an increase in Education taxes of $29.70 before the province’s education property tax credit. 
BLSD officials continue to wait for the Province to release a new public education funding model, one they hope will create a better system for school divisions that doesn't rely so heavily on education property taxes.