Skip to main content
550 Poirier St, Coquitlam, BC, V3J 6A7| Phone: 604-939-9201| Contact Us
School District No. 43 (Coquitlam)
Learning for a Lifetime
You're here: Skip Navigation LinksHome > Budget
Budget 2016-2017: Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the budget process so complicated?
School district budgeting is extremely complex primarily due to lack of funding certainty and inadequate funding. As well, SD43 is BC's third largest school district with approximately 32,000 students in 70 schools, over 3,900 employees, and extensive wide-ranging programing all supported by a budget of $350 million which must be distributed across many important areas and needs.

What is the Board of Education’s role in this Budget Consultation process?
The Board of Education’s role in the budget process is to engage with stakeholders, listen to staff, and make decisions on how to most effectively support and maintain a long-term stable and sustainable financial position for the provision of education in our school district. We are hosting five public events to inform stakeholders about the budget and to seek their input.

How will a stakeholder inform this process?
The Board of Education’s role in the budget process is to engage with stakeholders, listen to staff, and make decisions on how to most effectively support and maintain a long-term stable and sustainable financial position for the provision of education in our school district. We are hosting five public events to inform stakeholders about the budget and to seek their input. 

How is the Board of Education advocating for more funding?
The Board of Education and the District Leadership Team continue advocacy through meetings with the Minister of Education, Deputy Ministers and local MLAs to express concerns about the lack of provincial funding. Advocacy also occurs through provincial organizations such as the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA), the BC School Superintendent’s Association (BCSSA), and the BC Association of School Business Officials (BCASBO). SD43 partner groups including the Coquitlam Teacher’s Association (CTA), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Local 561), Coquitlam Principals' and Vice Principals' Association (CPVPA), District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) and others also advocate to government on behalf of the school district.  

How should parents expect to see this budget affect their children?
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 enhancing teaching and learning in the classroom. In fact, the Board spends more of its budget on teaching and learning and less on administration than the provincial average. The Board of Education is again engaging with the public and will make decisions that consider stakeholder input. Within a framework of financial sustainability, small incremental budget growth is planned for the 2016/17 fiscal year.

What is the long-term plan for budgeting in the school district?
We want to create a stable and certain education system for students, parents and employees. We can achieve long-term stability and sustainability by establishing educational funding reserves to create improved certainty over multiple years.  This is accomplished by allocating any in-year excess revenues over several years.  This allows for smoothing   future year budget fluctuations resulting from funding inadequacy and assists in managing unforeseen expenditure risks.  

Is the International Education program revenue sustainable for long-term budget planning?
SD43’s International Education program is highly successful and generates significant revenue each year. The past two years have seen substantive enrolment increases above historic levels.  The approach to budgeting utilizes the historic enrolment trend taking into consideration more recent enrolment growth. This reduces dependence on International Education revenues until the following year(s) when there is certainty around financial outcomes. This provides financial stability for subsequent years. 

What areas is the Board looking at reducing/cutting?
The Board is engaged with finding efficiencies and other expenditure savings which contributes to a sustainable financial outcome and avoids staffing reductions for the 2016/17 fiscal year. To continue to meet the requirement for additional Administrative savings, efficiency and savings initiatives continue to be explored such as rental enhancement, energy efficiencies, WorkSafeBC Program enhancement, enhancing investment returns, educational program efficiencies, and technology initiatives.

Are you budgeting for the increase in hydroelectricity costs?            
SD43 continually works to offset regulatory rate increases through increasing usage efficiencies in our schools combined with negotiated supply contracts to maintain pricing stabilization for this next year.

What do we do to reconcile the discrepancy in per-student funding?
SD43 is legally required by the School Act to submit a balanced budget. School district staff members have made funding concerns known to Ministry of Education and local MLAs and continue to work with them. Trustees are continually lobbying government directly and through all available forums such as the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA). The Board of Education and District Leadership Team have met and will continue to do so with the Ministry officials and local MLAs to express concerns about the lack of provincial funding. Community members are encouraged to speak to your local MLA about ways to lobby government to increase education funding in our District.

What is holdback and what is the amount?
The holdback is a portion of the operating grant that is not initially allocated to school districts and is held by the Ministry of Education for emergent issues or to address unanticipated enrolment variations that occur during the school year. If these funds are not required, they are disbursed to school districts on a per student basis. We do not budget for these funds in the current school year, but instead retain for the next budget year. This year (2015/16) we were able to utilize holdback funds from the 2014/15 year ($1.5 million) but no new holdback funds were provided this year for use in 2016/17. 

Are we under-funded by the provincial government?
School District 43 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. In fact, SD43 is ranked 58th out of 60 school districts, or the 3rd lowest funded district per student in the province in 2016/17. 

How much are we underfunded?
Provincial funding for education has not kept up with inflation. If the total grants had kept up with inflation since 2009-2010, SD43 would have received $7,546 per student in 2015/16 or $321 more than it currently receives. The difference of $321 per student equates to $10 million funding shortfall. Even with the modest increase, Coquitlam ranks 58th out of 60 school districts (or the3rd lowest in funding).

Why are we underfunded?
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 including student location factors, climate, rural and small community funding that direct more grants into these school districts and away from Coquitlam.

What is the current position on the debt?
Operating Debt at the beginning of the school year (July 1, 2015) was $6.9 million with a budget to reduce the debt in the current year by $2.5 million.  Utilizing international education net revenues in excess of budget provided the opportunity to accelerate debt repayment by a further $1.9 million such that our year end (June 30, 2016) operating debt should approach $2.5 million.  This allows the Board to repay the remaining balance over the following two years.  As the budget of $2.5 million can be reduced to $1.25 million annually, this provides a sustainable source of funds to support student learning for years to come.

Will this budget allow for more teachers, assistants, special needs and youth workers to be hired?
Within a stable and sustainable financial framework, this budget provides for positive incremental changes for 2016/17 that includes the hiring of teachers and support staff to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom.

Last year we had a status-quo budget, so how do we have a positive balanced budget year now?
While there are several contributing factors there are two significant influencing areas.  Strong international education revenue generation provides for accelerated operating debt repayment which reduces obligatory requirements in future years.  A reduction in required teacher pension plan contributions provides the opportunity to increment support to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom.  This is combined with labour settlements being fully funded by the Province.  

Can you transfer funds from the District’s capital budget into the operating budget? What are you going to do with money generated from the recent sale of existing school property?
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.

How does the coming year's budget impact/assist with creating more schools on Burke Mountain?
This past year the Board secured four sites for five new schools in the Burke Mountain area of the School District at approximately 10% of the market value through a cooperative approach with the Province, City of Coquitlam, and Wesbild. Further, the Board has solidified its shared contribution for funding new school construction through the sale of two land parcels over the past two years. The Board is also actively engaged with several school enhancement projects and replacement schools. As necessary, local capital funds from the sale of property can be utilized to support these school building initiatives.

Does the increase in per student in 2016/17 funding allow for extras above the labour settlement?  
The increase in per student funding is directly related to the costs associated with labour settlements. This is reduced by the requirement for additional Administrative Savings of $1.35 million. There are no funds to address inflationary or other cost components of a school district associated with the increased grant funding. A strong International Education program, as well as a reduction in the employer’s portion of the teacher pension plan, have made incremental funding for 2016/17 possible.

Are technology initiatives going to drive some immediate savings?
The scope of specific technology initiatives has yet to be fully developed. There will be some savings around standardization on a printer device strategy, and certainly efficiencies gleamed from the implementation of the new accounting systems for schools. Other initiatives are currently being identified.

Will SD43 be adding more Teacher-Librarians?
Curriculum is changing, technology is impacting the ways students learn, and new approaches to teaching and learning are being considered and implemented. Current research indicates that the library model is shifting towards a new “learning commons” approach that provides vibrant collaborative teaching and learning supports for all educators and students within a school. The teacher skill set required to utilize the learning commons requires a rethinking of both the planning and staffing of these structures.

How are EAs allocated in SD43?
Students with special needs are designated through internal assessments and/or external diagnoses. The district goes through an extensive process to determine the needs of students with special needs and what is required to support them at their school. A global allocation of EA hours are allocated to schools to allow for flexibility to address the unique student needs and the overall organization of the school.

School District No. 43 (Coquitlam)

550 Poirier St, Coquitlam BC
V3J 6A7
604-939-9201 604-939-7828