Enrolment hike expected for new school year in Abbotsford

District considering cuts to deal with $4 million deficit

The Abbotsford school district is planning for another significant enrolment jump next year as it prepares its next budget.

The district is planning for 174 more students next year, a jump that would bring total enrolment to 19,128. Last year, the district saw an unexpected enrolment increase of 190 students, defying a projected decrease.

Enrolment across the province had been dropping in recent years before an unexpected jump last fall. A shortage of housing, and population data, suggest more people are moving to the Abbotsford area both from Metro Vancouver and from Alberta, as that province experiences a drop in its economic fortunes.

The preliminary budget presented to school board trustees Tuesday suggests the district is facing a projected deficit of $4 million if it declines to make cuts.

The budget proposes the district slash the amount it spends on supplies ($1 million), pro-D spending ($280,000), and substitute employees ($600,000). Spending in those areas would remain above the provincial average even with the proposed cuts.

Along with reduced salaries, increased revenue, and the elimination of one-time costs, the proposals would bring the district back into the black.

However, $950,000 in planned new funding would cause the district to dip into its cash reserves to the tune of $745,000. The district’s operating fund stood at $12.1 million at the beginning of the year.