Lower student enrollment means fewer bucks for district
The Chilliwack school district will get $1.3 million less in provincial funding than it expected this year because of an overestimate of student enrollment.
Fortunately, however, officials expect that hole in the budget to be filled by an estimated $1.4 million windfall in provincial holdback funding—money the province retains every year in case the actual provincial enrollments are higher than estimated in the spring budget.
Five teaching positions the district was holding back will remain unfilled, but other programs and staff put in place will stay despite the funding decrease.
“Everything else had been allocated, and so it was not possible when we realized that our enrolment projections were not going to materialize to adjust anything else,” secretary treasurer Maureen Carradice said.
For more accurate estimates in the future, officials said they plan to rely more on the district’s Baragar planning software and less on local school projections.
Maahs feels board isn’t speaking enough to community
The Chilliwack school board voted against re-instating an education advisory committee to monitor the implementation of the district achievement contract, look at new courses and get community input on education issues.
Trustee Heather Maahs, who introduced the motion, said the board doesn’t currently take enough responsibility for what happens in the district and offloads too many of its responsibilities onto the superintendent.
“We are doing less,” she said.
“We are talking less to our community.”
Other trustees, however, said the implementation of programs should be left to the experts.
“We have highly specialized trained staff that do enormous work for us,” trustee Walt Krahn said. “And, quite frankly, I would be a little concerned if seven trustees started driving the train.”
Maahs’s motion was defeated 4-3, with Krahn, trustees Doug McKay and Barry Neufeld and board chair Louise Piper voting against it, and Maahs and trustees Martha Wiens and Silvia Dyck supporting it.
Safeguarding audit process behind splitting committee
The Chilliwack school board voted to split its finance committee in two Tuesday.
Based on a staff recommendation, the committee will now be replaced by a budget committee, responsible for public consultation and planning, preparing of the district’s preliminary budget; and an audit committee, which will manage the district’s annual audit tender and report to the board. Director of finance James Richards said an audit committee, which would exclude executive staff, was necessary to safeguard the audit process.
“If, for example, the auditor, in the course of doing their audit found that one of the executive, a higher level person, was perpetrating some sort of fraud on the organization, right now it would be very difficult for the auditor to go to the appropriate level to address their findings,” he said.
District staff will bring back terms of reference for both committees to the Dec. 11 board meeting for approval.
Compiled by Cornelia Naylor