The Horizon School Division has passed their 2021-22 budget with a small surplus due to funding for the Lanigan School project.
The overall budgetary surplus for the year to end Aug. 31, 2022, will be $9.764 million – exactly equal to the funding for the Lanigan project to consolidate the elementary and high school into a new facility.
“We’re pretty much at a balanced budget. It’s a small, small surplus,” said Kevin Garinger, Horizon’s director of education. “It will show larger because of the Lanigan school dollars that we’ve received.”
Other budgetary adjustments included amortization, which came to $3.5 million; planned capital investments, which came to $1.3 million; loan/lease principal payments, which came to $500,000; reserve contributions, which came to $142,000; and the use of reserves for infrastructure projects funded in the previous fiscal year, which came to $970,000.
Provincial capital grant funding included $2.3 million, for preventative maintenance and renewal, an increase of $233,570.
The division is also receiving $922,394 in pandemic funding for mental health and sanitation supports for the coming year.
“We’re in a very good place in terms of being able to manage the budget this year and ensure we have access to additional supports for students and staff around mental health,” Garinger said.
“We’ve added counselling supports, we’re adding a mental health coach, we’re adding some other coach positions as well. Some really important pieces that will help the work that we’re doing to make sure our students and staff are looked after from that aspect.”
In total, Horizon’s budget distributes $96.6 million in revenue to support educational programs and services for approximately 6,400 students across 43 schools, with a one per cent increase in operating revenue.
The budget has a one per cent increase in operating grant revenue for Horizon School Division. New funding only met 44 per cent of new expenditures facing the board. Garinger said the other 56 per cent was due to adjustments including classroom configuration and student numbers.
“We manage that all through what we’re able to adjust,” he said. “Attrition covers part of that, of course, if necessary, but all in all our staff complement is being supported in a very, very efficient and effective manner.”
Garinger said that throughout the budget there were system efficiencies they were able to find, including savings from the school day calendar.
New expenditures include the teachers' collective bargaining agreement, tax increases, and inflationary pressures.
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal