Langley School District heading into the black

The district is expected to pay off its $13 million deficit by the end of this year

An albatross hanging around Langley School District’s neck will be lifted two years earlier than expected.

The district is expected to pay off its $13 million deficit, incurred from accounting errors in the years up to 2009, by the end of this year, said secretary-treasurer David Green at the Tuesday, Sept. 26 Board of Education meeting.

The ministry of education stepped in, requiring a repayment plan after it was learned the district had accumulated the massive deficit.

At the board meeting, Green told trustees that not only will the deficit be paid off, but the district is projecting a surplus of $839,000.

Trustees debated at length about whether or not to hold that surplus money in an emergency/rainy day account or put it back into classrooms today.

The ministry recommends that the district carry a surplus of two per cent so it doesn’t go into a deficit situation again.

A two per cent surplus amounts to around $3.1 million, said trustee Rob McFarlane.

“That may seem like a lot but in this district, that is about a week’s worth of expenses,” he said. In the end, trustees voted to set up the rainy day fund. Green said the board can tell staff when and where they want the money released to at a later date.

The Auditor General was brought in to audit the district’s book and the office has just come back prepared to issue a statement of approval “which is a really good thing,” said Green. Any district audited by the Auditor General is held to a much higher standard, said board chair Wendy Johnson.