The Board of Education has always placed students at the forefront of decision making when it comes to budgets. The Board has made decisions to maximize the funds available for instruction in the classroom. In fact, the Board spends more of its budget on Instruction and less on Administration and Operations and Maintenance than the provincial average. However, with this size of a projected deficit and the cost reductions needed, effects will be felt at all levels including in the classroom. The Board of Education is seeking public input on how to reduce costs and will make decisions based on that input.
The District already has a number of revenue generating ventures, such as a robust International Education program and rental revenues. Suggestions we have heard so far in our public consultations range from increasing rentals of facilities, increasing our rental rates as well as increasing our vocational program options. Pursuing business opportunities that could include grant writing, corporate donations and lotteries were also mentioned.
In order to produce a statutorily required balanced budget the district must enhance revenues or reduce costs in a number of other areas such as supplies, salaries, benefits and professional development. We are also looking at services, such as student transportation, advertising, grounds and facilities maintenance. The Board of Education is seeking public input on how to reduce costs and will make decisions based on that input.
The Board of Education’s role in the budget process is to consult with the community, listen to staff, and make decisions on how to most effectively manage our resources for the betterment of our children and life-long learning. We are hosting eight public events
, four of which are dedicated to two-way community consultation in order to hear the public’s suggestions for addressing our deficit.
Yes, the Contractual, Regulatory, Wage and Benefits Increases we are forecasting for 2014/15 at a total of $6,278,969 includes a utilities rates increase from both BC Hydro and Fortis for $625,000.
No - School district funds in the capital budget must be used for capital projects and associated costs. Any revenues raised through land sales cannot go into general operations and must be dedicated to new and/or improved infrastructure, including building new schools, refurbishing or adding to existing schools, or providing the capital money needed to improve infrastructure.
The school district is legally required by the School Act to submit a balanced budget. The district must reduce costs in a number of areas such as supplies, salaries and professional development. School district staff members have made funding concerns known to Ministry of Education and continue to work with them. Trustees are continually lobbying government directly and through all available forums such as the BC School Trustees Association. The Board of Education and Senior Management recently met with our local MLA’s to express our concern in the lack of provincial funding. Community members can speak to your local MLA about ways to lobby government to increase education funding.
A Holdback is monies held by the Ministry of Education for emergent issues. Historically school districts have been given some of these monies throughout the year. The amount we expect to receive in 2013/14 is $1,891,061. However for 2014/15 the Ministry of Education has advised all B.C. school districts not to budget for any holdback funds.
Provincial school district funding ranges from $7,020 to $24,976. If you were to average the total grants* Coquitlam falls short of a provincial average. For 2013/14 the provincial average was $7,570 per student while the Coquitlam average was $7,025 per student. On this basis Coquitlam ranks 56 out of 60 school districts (or 4th lowest in funding) and within $5 of the lowest ranking school district.
When comparing total grants* Coquitlam will see a decrease next fiscal year as will the Provincial average. For 2014/15 the provincial average will be $7,538 per student while the Coquitlam average will be $6,966 per student.
*Excludes special student needs and teacher salary differential from the student grant calculation.
An aspect of the provincial funding differential is attributable to extra funding grants to school districts with declining enrolment. This redistributes funds from schools with stable or increasing enrolment. A second aspect of funding differential relates to unique geographical situations and funding protocols that direct more grants into these school districts and away from Coquitlam.
Larger school districts tend to receive less funding per student. Out of the 19 school districts below the provincial average for funding, 16 of these are in the top 20 by size.
Yes, the Coquitlam School District is under-funded by the provincial government in comparison to both other Metro Vancouver school districts as well as in comparison to rates of inflation indexed through the Consumer Price Index.
Coquitlam is the 4th lowest funded district per student in the province, even though we are the 3rd largest in size.