Despite projecting a deficit of over $350,000, Prairie Rose Public Schools’s budget has managed to fall only $6,170 in deficit.
This is largely due to increases in revenue from Alberta Education Funding, which came in higher than budget by $358,000, with $194,400 of that increased funding being a one-time payment to support online learning. This, alongside the critical worker benefit payment, offsets a decrease in funding due to lower enrollment.
While the division doesn’t actually receive the lowered funding until next year, it is still set up as a payable for this year as it pertains to this year’s students.
Federal Government and First Nations came in about $12,000 higher than budgeted, due to summer student employment grants, said Candace Hintz, Assistant Secretary-Treasurer at Prairie Rose Public Schools.
Other Alberta School Jurisdictions decreased $57,200 this year. $8,000 is in relation to Cherry Coulee Transportation, and $23,000 is because of the Medicine Hat Public School Division’s portion of Coulee Collegiate expenses.
Both Out of Province Authorties and Fees came in below what was budgeted, by $13,000 and $38,500 respectively.
Other Sales & Services came in $333,300 higher than budgeted. Donations were $159,500 under budget, due to playground projects that had been budgeted for but not completed during the course of the year.
Fundraising has increased $79,800 which is all related to School Generated Funds (SGF)
“All SGF increases or decreases won't have an effect on our bottom line. As any difference goes into deferred revenue,” said Hintz. Revenues are currently expected to come in $645,100 over budget.
“As far as expenses, certificated salaries are coming in at about $181,000 under budget. And the majority of this is in relation to sub costs. They came in $213,000 under budget, we had budgeted for quite a large amount of sub costs as we didn't know with COVID and what that was going to look like for this year,” said Hintz. “So we came in quite a bit under budget on that line which is offset by unused contingency and maternity leave sub top up costs and just other random staffing adjustments throughout the year.”
Certificated benefits have been decreased by $136,700, which include ATRF coming in $110,850 under budget, $40,120 in HSA credits forfeited as well as a decrease in benefits related to the above decrease in salaries. This is offset by increased benefit cost to provide maternity leave benefits for a full year.
Non-certificated salaries increased $121,000, which is mainly in relation to the Critical Worker benefit.
Non-certificated benefits have been increased $61,300 to reflect the above changes to salaries, as well as an increase in average benefit rate for support staff.
Services, Contracts and Supplies came in $433,100 over budget.
“This is due to increases in critical worker benefits. So far bus contractors are under the services contracts and supplies, additional instructional expenses, COVID re entry expenses, the addition of primary responsibilities, some insurance risk mitigation requirements. Funding for science, CTF and CTS equipment purchases, additional upgrading of desktop computers and Chromebooks and the purchase of gifts for staff. This is offset by decreases to meetings, travel MPD lines, decrease in transportation costs and decreases in school budgets, Trustee expenses admin expenses, some other small but budgetary line expenses. So overall, our expenses are coming in 318,000 over budget,” said Hintz.
Overall, expenses came in $300,100 over budget, for a $344,970 decrease in the projected deficit from $351,140 to $6,170. Despite this, Hintz says they can expect deficit budgets for the next while, as they still have work to do to meet mandates for August of 2023.
Anna Smith, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prairie Post East