Rocky View Schools (RVS) has approved its 2010-11 budget and will submit its report to Alberta Education following a Dec. 2 board meeting.
Administration’s May 2010 budget had an error in the number of grant eligible students and resulted in an overstatement of revenue totalling $477,713.
“We counted the ineligible Alberta Education students as eligible students as well as counted the INAC (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) students,” said Darrell Couture, associate superintendent of operations and finance. “We counted them as if they were Alberta Education students and counted them as federal students.”
This double counting resulted in the error in funds, which had to be taken from Instruction Reserve.
Last year, the school board received $1.1 million from the Alberta Government for educational grants and ran a $1.1 million surplus.
“We pulled $444,000 from our reserves to balance our budget,” said Couture. “In total, we pulled $1.5 million, of which we planned for $1.1 million previously, because the government had given us grant revenue the previous year.”
The 2009-10 $1.1 million surplus was divided between schools, technology and a human resources contingency fund, which has since been reduced to $42,222.
“Budgets are imperfect documents, there are always going to end up being difficulties,” said Ward 3 Trustee Don Thomas. “What I’m pleased about is we have the bulk of the ($1.1 million) going to schools directly.”
“I was quite frankly dismayed to see the mistake in these numbers and the fact that we’re just about $500,000 behind the eight ball when we thought we had money to send back to our schools,” said Ward 5 Trustee Colleen Munro. “Everyone makes mistakes, we’ll go forward, we’ll figure it out.”
Other budget adjustments included hiring a junior communications writer at a cost of $45,000 and superintendents’ salaries being increased by $11,000.
“On a $170-million budget, if you vary by $200 to $300,000 dollars, that’s like being balanced,” said Couture.
Rocky View Schools’ 2010/11 operating budget is $171,228,057.