Nanaimo school district’s budget is in the black and on track to finish the year with a surplus.
The district did not spend as much money as anticipated in teacher staffing due to fewer-than-anticipated students showing up in the fall, said Phil Turin, secretary-treasurer.
Despite some spending increases in benefits, services and supplies, the net result is a surplus of $387,433 as of Oct. 31, he said.
This is in addition to the $480,000 unrestricted surplus he announced in September, money that carried over from the 2011-12 school year, and with an extra $100,000 saved through the switch from one accounting method to another, Turin hopes to finish the year with nearly $1 million unrestricted surplus.
“The budget is a very complex process and I do believe we are managing it well,” he said. “We’re in a better position than we were in previous years at this time. I’m feeling very good at this point.”
The unanticipated enrolment drop meant the district required 7.4 full-time equivalent fewer teachers than budgeted for last spring, said Turin, and so those positions were not filled.
“The biggest success to a board’s budget is control of your staffing,” he said. “We have some money in the cupboard and we’ve controlled our staffing. But budgets are dynamic, things change.”
Turin hopes to save the surplus to balance next year’s budget – last spring he predicted a $2.1-million budget shortfall for the 2013-14 school year.
Jamie Brennan, school board chairman, said it is good to see that staff are keeping finances in good shape and that there are no surprises yet.
“The real challenge will be to build our budget for next fiscal year, given we continue to have declining enrolment and increasing expenditures,” he said.
Mike Ball, first vice-president of the Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association, said there are classrooms that could use extra support now, rather than keeping the surplus money in the bank.
“You have the money in the cupboard for a rainy day and some teachers think it is a rainy day,” he said.