Better savings lead to smaller deficit

Some good news came over the summer for Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS).

Some good news came over the summer for Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS).

Trustees received an update on the outcome of their finances from the 2015-2016 school year at their regular meeting Sept. 15, which showed a huge cut in the projected deficit outlined earlier this year.

A mild winter combined with lower than expected fuel prices and some other efficiencies saw WCPS spend about $1.3 million less, meaning the deficit would be slashed nearly in half. That also translated into administration requesting trustees to approve spending some of those savings on needs for the coming school year.

“These unanticipated savings allowed us to make some spending requests that were necessary to provide for students and address some priorities,” said superintendent Jayson Lovell.

Those requests, which were approved by trustees, included $304,000 for four teachers at schools where enrolments were higher than expected and necessary to lower class sizes; $414,000 for 10 full-time equivalent educational assistants; $58,000 for added educational assistant time for the Bright Futures Play Academy due to exceptional response to the new program; $35,000 to provide four schools with more social work full-time equivalent time to restore support levels due to identified needs and caseloads; and, $54,000 to pay for the three-year contract with a B.C.-based company that will assist WCPS with community engagement.

Lovell added a number of other requests were made by department heads and principals for items such as additional resources, furniture and equipment. However, he stated those were left off the table until the next meeting on Oct. 6, so trustees can consider the final budget figures along with the division’s final enrolment count in order to determine how much money will be available.

“Trustees also spoke of continuing to maintain the division’s operational reserves at its current $2 million, and having spent $866,000 of those unanticipated savings, they wanted to wait and see the full financial picture prior to making any more decisions,” he stated.

As of Sept. 9, WCPS has seen an overall reduction in their student numbers down about 80 from its projected attendance figures. Originally, WCPS had thought overall enrolment would be close to 7,520 students.

While some schools have seen an increase, the reductions have certainly been dramatic with Lovell explaining the Blackfalds area has been where the biggest drop was noticed.

“It’s not that the students are in another school, our information is that they have simply moved out of the area,” he said.

“It’s likely a reflection of the current state of the economy with families moving or migrating to where the jobs are.”


Just Posted

Rural crime task force results released at Agri-Trade luncheon

Report cites problems with police not being able to keep up with crime and justice system issues

PHOTO: Ponoka’s St. Augustine JV girls win volleyball league

The team had a great finals winning in two sets in Ponoka

Ponoka’s annual holiday gala, fundraiser just days away

2018 Festival of Trees in support of operations at the Ponoka hospital set for Nov. 15 to 17

Ponoka’s senior Broncs lost a tough consolation to Wetaskiwin

Penalties and errors in play affected Ponoka, which ended up deflating the team’s momentum

Woman in theft of CN truck from Ponoka pleads guilty

Sentencing not set as the woman heads into intensive one year drug treatment program

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Grim search for more fire victims; 31 dead across California

More than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres

Politicians need to do better on social media, Trudeau says

Prime minister suggests at conference in Paris some are trying to use technology to polarize voters

Bells of Peace toll 100 times in Castor

Commemorates the 100th anniversary since the end of the First World War

Most Read