Province examines school budget

The Nanaimo school district's financial process will be examined in an upcoming report from the Office of the Auditor General of B.C.

The Nanaimo school district’s financial process will be examined in an upcoming report from the Office of the Auditor General of B.C.

The auditor general project looks at how school districts budget and control spending and Nanaimo was one of the school districts selected. A total of four were chosen and they were selected to give a sample of of various sized school districts and to examine urban versus rural areas, according to Colleen Rose, manager of communications for the auditor general’s office.

The information will be compiled into a report that will be presented to the B.C. Legislature.

“The report will include the results of the examination and a guide on principles of good practice,” Rose said to the News Bulletin in an e-mail. “While still a ways out, the team is looking at a spring publication.”

Phil Turin, school district secretary-treasurer, said he is looking forward to working with the auditor general and seeing the report. Project work commenced on Oct. 28, he said.

The auditor general’s office will meet with people in finance and others, including learning services, superintendent Dave Hutchinson, board chairwoman Dot Neary and business committee chairman Jamie Brennan, to see how budgets are put together and to see issues and problems facing school districts, according to Turin,

The Nanaimo district is facing declining enrolment and with that tied to provincial funding, budgeting can be difficult.

“Unless you’re in a metro area, enrolment has been decreasing and as such, you kind of have to condense the organization to meet the revenues that you have to work with … it is difficult when you’re cutting services to kids and you have to pick and choose amongst various options of where you’re going to cut,” the secretary-treasurer said.

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