Trustees in the Seine River School Division have their work cut out for them this year as they struggle to get a grip on an unexpected deficit. 

Chair Wendy Bloomfield says their board and administration are committed to improving their financial situation. 

“I would like to say that I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re going to be able to be back on track within the next three to five years,” she says. “We're all very committed to making sure that we restore our financial stability in a thoughtful and humane way, with lots of consideration for our staff and our communities.” 

After a few months of making corrections to their books, the board realized in November that it is running a $1.45 million deficit. 

Bloomfield is hoping for good news this month when the province announces education funding for the new school year. 

She notes transportation challenges continue for the division, saying they will continue their bus driver recruitment efforts this year. 

“We’re still struggling with finding enough drivers to work, qualified drivers. I think all school divisions are still struggling with that and so at times, if there's a number of people sick, it can lead to routes being cancelled.” 

Bloomfield says they were able to hire more bus drivers in fall, but there is still a shortage. 

On a positive note, she says planning continues for the new vocational high school in Ste. Anne with a strong response from the community in selecting which vocations will be taught when the doors open. 

The province anticipates the new school to be completed in 2027.