School board finds final savings for budget

There was a bit more shaving to be done by Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) to achieve a balanced budget for the next school year.

There was a bit more shaving to be done by Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) to achieve a balanced budget for the next school year.

At the WCPS board meeting on Thursday, May 5, trustees were informed that staff had found the additional $147,000 in savings needed to bring the budget into line with provincial guidelines for no deficit budgets for school boards. The board has been faced with the task of slashing $2.6 million for the 2016-17 school year.

Acting superintendent Jayson Lovell explained that staff found another $30,000 that could be saved from the operations of the inclusive learning services area to go along with some $60,000 through reductions to educational program subsidies that the division had been providing over the regular provincial funding levels for those programs.

There were also further savings found through a review of the expenses for educational assistants. Lovell stated there was a miscalculation in their original figures, so when the adjusted figures were used the money found help the division meet their target.

The board will now wait until next month to formally approve the budget.

Off to Europe

Trustees unanimously approved a request from Ponoka Secondary Campus for an international trip next year with the main focus being the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge.

The tour, which will take place from March 22 to April 1, 2017, will make stops in London, Vimy and Flanders in France as well as Florence, Italy.

Being part of the trip will enable students to complete five credits through the Travel and Tourism course modules. In addition, students will visit the grave sites of the five locals that are memorialized at Vimy.

Communications

Lovell informed trustees that administration is looking into developing an overall communications strategy and plan for the division, though the outline being explored doesn’t at the moment include a new job opening within WCPS.

“Things are changing with the way we communicate and with the role of a communications officer, which have had in the past in the division,” Lovell said.

“We felt now is the best opportunity to explore all of our options, given the changing technology and finding the absence of that communications role somewhat challenging.”

However, Lovell added that the present budget situation would make it difficult to bring someone on board to do the job and that it could be developed on a contract basis, but also stated that may not be the best either given the nature of the job needed to be carried out.

Lovell said the plan will be worked on and brought to the board over the next few months with the hope the plan, and possible position, would be in place this fall.

Three-year plan

Trustees completed an exercise during the meeting to assist in developing priorities for the division in a number of areas for inclusion in their three-year plan.

This was just one of the steps take in the past two months to put together a draft that will be finalized in October.

The plan does focus on facilities, but also establishes priorities for educational and administrative goals the board would like to achieve over time.

 

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