Nanaimo school district plans to spend a million dollars on new initiatives thanks to a jump in revenue.
Higher enrolment, lower average teacher salary and surplus elementary staff positions are expected to ring up more revenue for Nanaimo school district, which will present an amended budget to the school board this month.
Six areas of the district are expected to see higher revenue, such as enrolment – 303 more students than projected has led to a $2-million increase. There’s also about $1.9 million that could come as a result of newly hired staff coming in at a lower pay scale and a million dollars in savings because of the removal of 10 surplus staff positions, a staff report shows.
While some of the revenue has already been tied to projects or set aside in case of clawbacks, the district plans to use a million dollars from its operating budget to fund 18 initiatives this school year.
Twenty-two thousand will be added for a safe walk program, for example, $100,000 for the second and third phase of lead testing and remediation in schools, $70,000 for a new CUPE position and $150,000 for school equipment replacement. There’s also plans to top up a $25,000 budget for helping Rutherford students transition to new schools by $8,000.
John Blain, school district superintendent, said in the past there have been times when the district was spending more than it was bringing it and needed to make cuts but it hasn’t been in that situation for the last two to three years.
“We’re fortunately suggesting we’re sound enough that we can spend a little bit of money right now, to insert it into this year’s operating budget, back out to the schools so it’s spent this year to the students that are generating the money,” he said.
CUPE 606 president Rob Zver said initial thoughts on the budget amendment are always positive when more money is seen coming back into areas affected by previous cuts.
“It’s never enough, I guess in the sense, but it is good to see they are recognizing there was some stuff removed and there needs to be some money put back in to replenish the system and to allow it to grow,” said Zver, who is interested in seeing the amended budget.