The preliminary budget serves to allow the school district to make adjustments to their expenditures that will allow them to as close as possible achieve a balanced budget. The Secretary Treasurer Doug Boyd states that the budget does not take into account Ministry holdbacks.
“With this budget we obviously are in a position where we know we cannot budget holdbacks,” he says. “A holdback is basically the Ministry’s way of holding back a certain amount of dollars to facilitate growth in other areas or any area of the province that may facilitate the use of those dollars.”
Despite the holdbacks the Ministry will begin making adjustments at the end of September and will release a portion of the holdback funds. As it is unknown how much, if any money will be released, School District 60 has made the decision not to budget on that figure. This past year the school district received an additional $500,000 but that figure cannot be counted on once again to present itself.
Boyd adds that the school district is not able to generate funds for their budgets and their revenue is based off of calculations from the Ministry of Education on the number of students attending schools.
“Our budgets are ones that we cannot generate funds. Our funds are allocated by formula from the Ministry. Our revenue will be known as soon as our population occurs and that is done by September 30,” he explains. “The preliminary budget is really our best guess as to our projected number of students and what revenue that will generate. When we have that number formulated then we go through and see how much staff we will require and start to do the expenditure side of the budget.”
It was emphasized during the explanation of the budget to the trustees of School District 60 that it is indeed preliminary and it is not a final budget in any way. The purpose is to reflect to the Ministry the expectations of the district.
Throughout the year an amended budget is presented to trustees to give a more accurate representation of the current budget, and eventually a final budget is also presented.