WCPS surplus provides for more priority spending

There was an expectation there would be more money available, though the amount was even more than first thought.

There was an expectation there would be more money available, though the amount was even more than first thought.

Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) had anticipated there would be a surplus of funds from the 2015-16 school year, so in September trustees spent around $800,000 to address a number of issues that included more time for teachers and educational assistants.

However, once audits were completed last week, trustees heard at their regular meeting Nov. 17 that there is an additional $281,000 that could be used to fund a variety of requests that have been made since the school year began.

Superintendent Jayson Lovell, along with assistant secretary-treasurer Roger Hall, presented trustees what administration believed would be the best way to spent most of those available dollars.

“When we looked at the funds available, keeping in mind that the board wanted to keep the operational reserves at $2 million, it was felt there was some flexibility to put some of those funds into areas that needed to be addressed,” Lovell stated.

He added that all of the items that were proposed, and accepted by trustees, are directly tied to supporting the initiatives and goals laid out in the WCPS three-year plan.

Among the funding that trustees approved were: $15,000 to cover the cost of the Rock The Diploma program that assists students in preparing to write their diploma exams; $15,000 for support staff such as educational assistants to attend a professional development conference on inclusive learning; $11,000 to expand and purchase resources for the First Nations Success program; $17,000 for more social worker time to address issues found in an audit that will help WCPS comply with Alberta Education’s safe and caring schools policy; $26,000 that will pay for a certified journeyman to work with a teacher at Ponoka Secondary Campus in order for the teacher to achieve her Red Seal ticket and $75,000 saved, to replace, on an emergency basis, capital items under $5,000 that may be requested during the year.

“Right now, we are not able to budget for items like a stove that needs to be replaced or small capital items that come up through the normal budgeting process. This request will satisfy those principals who may need to replace those kind of items,” stated Lovell.

“Meanwhile, the payment for additional journeyman hours is because those hours are a necessary requirement for our one CTS teachers to complete her Red Seal and will then be able to teach courses own her own.”

He added that money is a short-term investment with the long-term gain of having a certified journeyman teacher on staff, just as the money spent on the Rock the Diploma and support staff development is an investment toward future success for students.