At its regular public meeting last night, June 15, 2016, the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows Board of Education approved a number of one-time budget changes to the 2016/17 Preliminary Budget. These budget changes were necessitated by last month’s unexpected redirection by the Ministry of Education of $25 million in administrative savings to school districts across the province. For Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows, the amount being redirected to the school district totals $631,773.
In deciding how best to allocate these redirected funds, the board reviewed all the input it had received during the 2016/17 Preliminary Budget public consultation process, and considered the key areas of shared concern highlighted during this process.
The call for additional classroom-level supports across the district was especially strong, and came from students, parents, staff, and partner groups. To address the need for much-needed supports for vulnerable students at all elementary and secondary schools across the district, and to minimize the number of classes over 30 at the secondary level, trustees therefore approved a one-time funding allocation of $0.36 million.
During the 2016/17 budget process, trustees also heard from parents of students who use regular student transportation. This parent group requested that trustees reverse their 2015/16 budget process decision to discontinue regular student busing effective September 2016, and presented to the board recommendations for optimizing the existing regular student busing model to make it more cost-effective. The board reviewed the recommendations submitted by this parent group, and approved a one-time funding allocation of $0.26 million for a one-year pilot of this proposed revised regular student transportation model.
Finally, the board heard about the need for additional clerical support in school, and approved the allocation of one-time funding of $7,000 to increase elementary clerical support banks.
While the provincial redirection of administrative savings is ongoing, the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District is anticipating a budget shortfall for 2017/18. In light of this anticipated shortfall, the funding allocations approved at last night’s meeting have been designated for one-time use in 2016/17. Trustees will consider these budget changes for ongoing funding during the 2017/18 budget process.