District finishes year with budget surplus

NANAIMO – Money slated to be used toward this year’s costs.

Nanaimo school district finished the 2012-13 school year in solid financial position, with an unrestricted surplus of $1.5 million.

The school district board approved audited financial statements for 2012-13 at a meeting on Sept. 11, and along with the aforementioned unrestricted surplus, school district secretary-treasurer Phil Turin said there was an overall surplus of about $4.6 million and a restricted surplus of about $3.1 million.

An unrestricted surplus is money available for use at the board’s discretion while the restricted surplus can be targeted for certain items, including school supplies and learning resources, aboriginal education programs, school closure costs and equipment replacement.

The operating budget for the year was $123 million.

Turin said that part of the $1.5 million was a $525,000 carry over from the previous year. Currently, plans are to hold on to this year’s unrestricted surplus for future use.

“At this point in time I would say we will keep that ($1.5 million) there and we might have to use it for the 2014-15 budget or other issues as they come up during the year,” Turin said.

The 2013-14 budget is balanced as of now, according to Turin, but a $2-million shortfall is being forecast for the 2014-15 budget.

“We’ll redo that forecast once I know where the enrolments are,” said Turin. “Enrolments right now are just coming in, obviously, because school just started.”

The Ministry of Education finalizes funding based on the district’s enrolment numbers as of Sept. 30 with final amounts normally announced in mid-December. The main funding boards receive is based on the Sept. 30 enrolment numbers. The 2012-13 financial statements represented the first time the school district used Public Sector Accounting standards having previously used standards from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants handbook. Turin said because of this it took a significant amount of work to prepare the financial statements.