Wild Rose School Division to post $1.6 million budget deficit, but no plans for layoffs

The Wild Rose School Division’s 2019-2020 budget has been approved and includes an estimated $1.6 million dollar deficit based on projected student numbers and expected provincial funding.

After a long deliberation, the board decided that this budget would be put on a “worst case” basis, and that the deficit could end up being less than predicted when the United Conservative Party unveils its plans for school funding in its fall budget.

“I don’t know if we’ll be down this many students, but we’re projecting 150 less students,” explains Superintendent Brad Volkman. “The reason we do that is it’s a way to build in certainty that we’re not going to way over spend. And to be truthful, over the last couple years we have seen about 100 students less, so if we get all the students from last year back it will make a big difference in that budget, but we’re protecting ourselves.”

Volkman also said there is funding the division just doesn’t expect to get,

“For instance, we’re not expecting to get CIF, the Classroom Improvement Fund, and we’ve received that the last two years in a row. So we’re waiting to see what the new government does.

“If we do get some of that money, the one point six million dollar deficit will be less”

The school division wanted to ensure people that there are no foreseeable layoffs being planned.

“We had to decide whether we wanted to be really conservative and lay off a bunch of folks, or we just say you know what, we’re going to keep the same number. That’s because we want our class sizes and the support we give to our classroom to be in a good position,” states Volkman.

The school division is only allowed to have up to a five percent surplus before they’re sent a letter asking what they intend to spend that money on. Wild Rose School Division was sent that letter last year.

With the extra surplus from last school year, Wild Rose has decided that if they have to, they will be able to handle a deficit, but not for multiple years.