Tax payers in the Seine River School Division could see a reduction in school taxes this year.
Trustees were presented with a draft budget for the 2019-2020 school year at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Superintendent Mike Borgfjord says although it was announced that Seine River would be getting a 0.3 percent increase in provincial funding, he notes when looking budget to budget, it actually comes out to a 2.5 percent increase. Borgfjord says that’s mainly driven by enrollment.
Our enrollment was up 3.4 percent so our estimated status quo budget is a 2.3 percent expenditure increase," he adds, noting total expenditures are projected to be $55.3 million. Borgfjord notes the increase is primarily driven by enrollment which is expected to continue increasing for the next few years.
To break it down, $31.1 million comes from the province, $321 thousand from other revenue or grants and $23.9 million from local taxation.
"With that, due to increased assessment and the provincial requirement for two percent on the levy, what was discussed tonight was actually a 0.25 percent reduction in the mill rate," says Borgfjord, "or for the average ratepayer in Seine River School Division, would see a slight reduction in their school taxes this year."
Seine River is also proposing to cut divisional administration costs back from 3.08 percent to 2.88 percent. "We’re not really heavy on the administrative side but we have re-jigged some of the responsibilities and lowered our admin cap."
Division Administration costs consists mainly of board member salaries and a majority of the staff at the division's head office
Taking into account that school divisions in Manitoba have an adminstration cap of 3.18 percent, Board Chair Wendy Bloomfield applauded the administration for the work they do. "I'm curious to know how many businesses run a three percent admin cost," she comments.
Borgfjord adds it is a little bit of a tightening of the belt but says they will have to discuss it with the board and make it work.