The Langley School District is looking at a $294 million budget for the next school year, but is facing a number of cost pressures thanks to soaring enrolment and inflation.
Langley district secretary treasurer Brian Iseli took the board through the outline of the budget plan during its Tuesday, May 24 meeting.
He noted the budget anticipates another 353 full-time students next year, putting the district over 22,000 enrolled.
With about 1,000 additional students already enrolling this year – far over expected numbers – the district is also looking at higher costs for things like portables and new research teachers.
However, the province is keeping per-student funding the same, despite inflation and the rising cost of gas and any number of other supplies the district needs to keep operating.
There are a number of changes contemplated in the budget, including an extra fund to pay for new special education assistants hired during the next school year.
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At the end of the year, the current budget anticipates a $770,000 deficit, which can be funded out of a surplus fund that was already set aside for that purpose, Iseli said.
However, he noted that over three years, the deficits are expected to balloon, with $2.5 million in year two and $1.9 million in year three if no changes are made.
“We would have to either cut costs, or use our unrestricted surplus,” said Iseli.
That would deplete the district’s surplus funds fairly rapidly.
Trustee Shelley Coburn asked whether there was any funding from the Ministry of Education to deal with the financial pressures caused by inflation.
“There has been no funding for the hyper-inflation that has occurred over the last number of months,” said Iseli. “It is a concern that has been raised to the ministry.”
The trustees approved the budget plan unanimously at its first and second readings, but it has not yet been given final approval.
The district will hold a public meeting about the budget on June 7, and is expected to approve a final budget for the 2022/23 school year on June 21.
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