Sale of property owned by Rocky View Schools helps board balance books
Rocky View Schools (RVS) made adjustments to move its reserve funds from the red to the black on Aug. 29.
With the sale of the former Alberta Transportation building and two multi-family sites adjacent to the Rocky View Schools (RVS) Education Centre, the board of trustees was able to review RVS’ internally restricted net assets.
As of Aug. 31, 2012, the balance in the account totalled approximately $4.4 million dollars in debt.
Associate Superintendent of Business and Operations Darrell Couture said the sale of these properties along with transferring funds from several other accounts would fund the negative reserve and bring it back into the positive to about $7.2 million in total reserves.
The sale of the two multi-family sites adjacent to the education centre in Chinook Winds provided a net sale revenue of about $4.7 million.
However, RVS owes about $5.8 million on the education centre and adjacent lands’ mortgage and anticipates future costs of more than $1.1 million for roads, sidewalks and pathways etc.
This put the total expected costs of the building and land at about $6.9 million, more than $2.2 million greater than the sale of the two properties.
Trustee Colleen Munro put forward a motion for the board to approve Couture’s recommendation of addressing the deficit on the education centre and related lands project by transferring more than $1.8 million from Instruction Unassigned Reserves (meant for instructional needs), $215,182 from maintenance and $148,576 from transportation.
“This board made the decision in the 2012 year to create an instructional reserve,” Munro said. “(The instructional reserve) allowed this board to have this savings account if you will, and now it’s time we spent it.”
Trustee Sylvia Eggerer said she was frustrated by the current financial situation and added the board anticipated the mortgage on the centre and surrounding land would be paid off sooner, but due to unforeseen circumstances and the current economy, that didn’t happen.
“I would like to see instructional dollars going to instruction,” she said.
Trustee Bev LePeare said she understood where Eggerer was coming from but added she felt the board was caught and needed to address the project’s funding shortfall.
Couture noted the education centre cost $14 million to build in 2006 but would now cost $30 to $40 million to construct.
“From that aspect we have a very valuable asset,” he said.
The motion to transfer the funds was passed unanimously.
Alberta Transportation building
The sale of the Alberta Transportation building on Veterans Boulevard produced a net sale proceeds of about $9.2 million.
However, the cost to construct RVS school facilities including the Chestermere Learning Centre and Herons Crossing elementary school in Williamstown in Airdrie, comes to about $10.5 million.
Leaving RVS about $1.2 million short of covering the costs.
Couture recommended the board transfer the full balance of $107,389 from Unspecified Capital Reserves (for capital projects) and more than $1.1 million from Instruction Unassigned Reserves to cover the $1.2-million shortfall.
Munro made the motion to approve the recommended transfers.
“We built the schools and now it’s time to pay for the schools,” said Trustee Colleen Munro. “This is how we said we’d pay for it and now it’s time we make it happen.”
The motion was passed unanimously. Alberta Education recommends all school boards have at least three days operating budget available in reserves.