NORTHEAST — The North East School Division is seeing an increase in the funding it receives from the provincial government, but that doesn’t make up for cuts made in the last two years.
In the 2018-19 provincial budget, the division received approximately $54 million.
“Our funding has increased by $365,000 compared to the prior year’s funding,” said Wanda McLeod, the division’s superintendent of business administration. “However, if you look at what we received from 2016-17 to 2017-18, our funding decreased by $1.5 million, so even though we’re very thankful that $30 million was injected into the province as a whole for school divisions, it doesn’t really make up for the decrease in funding in the prior year.”
The year before that, the division lost $1.8 million in funding.
Over the past few years, to help offset the loss in revenue, the school division has been tapping into its reserves. McLeod said she expects that to continue for the division's next budget.
“What generally happens is we have a deficit budget but at the end of the year, it works out that people are under budget with our expenses and quite often we have more of a balanced budget because of that.”
The school division now also no longer has a cap imposed by the province on how much it can spend on governance expenses. Last year, it had to reduce spending on governance to $237,000 – a 49 per cent decrease. In response, the division’s board of education decided to hold fewer and longer meetings to save on travel expenses.
Preventative maintenance has also increased by $200,000 this year to $1.53 million. Last year, preventative maintenance was one of the few areas where the division received more money from the province.
“We’re very thankful for that increase,” McLeod said.
A new school for Carrot River remains high on the list for the provincial government, but no new schools were announced this year.