Rocky View School (RVS) Division will post a $9.4 million deficit for the 2023 year.
The RVS board of trustees heard a presentation on the audited financial statements for its operating budget, which must be sent to the Government of Alberta as of Nov. 30.
The $9.4 million deficit was slightly higher than the $9.2 million deficit projected in the unaudited budget the RVS board of trustees passed in April of 2022.
Part of that deficit, explained RVS director of finance Steve Thomas during the Nov. 30 board meeting, was attributable to the provincial government’s three-year weighted-moving-average funding formula which represented a $900,000 shortage of funds in the 2022/2023 school year.
“That funding model over the years has come with its challenges,” acknowledged Thomas.
The other part of the deficit came largely as a result of unplanned spending, including larger costs for teacher sick leave and medical leave, which at $6.5 million came in about $1.4 million above initial projections. Another $800,000 came from upgrades needed at the new Cochrane Christian Academy on Powell Street inherited from the Calgary Catholic School Board. Another $1.2 million came from unanticipated carryover costs from 2021/2022 projects which spilled over into this year’s budget. The rest of the deficit was accounted for by amortization and unexpected capital spending purchases, according to Thomas. It was also driven by increased costs associated with enrolment growth.
The total audited budget for the year was $298.3 million, up $5.3 million from 2021/2022.
“I think what this is showing me is that we did set out strategically to make some investments in our schools, in our supports for our students,” said Board Chair Fiona Gilbert, summarizing what she heard from staff during the budget presentation. “And those investments have been made– you can see that. And that now puts us in a position of, ‘Where to from here?’ We have to continue to have that conversation about the limited resources that we have to best support our students and our schools.”