June 19, 2014 3:45 pm

Prairie Spirit School Division delivers ‘bad news’ budget

Warman Community Middle School. The Prairie Spirit School Division will dip into its reserve funds to cover operation costs for the 2014-15 school year.

Brent McGillivray / Global News

WARMAN, Sask. – Calling it the most challenging budget it has ever faced, the Prairie Spirit School Division approved its 2014-15 budget on Monday.

Faced with a nearly $3-million deficit, the board made the unprecedented decision to dip into reserve funds to cover operational costs and plans to adjust its spending.

“Even with a status quo budget, Prairie Spirit School Division is in a deficit position of $2.9 million,” explained board chair Larry Pavloff.

“Using reserve funds to balance our budget is not sustainable in the long-term.”

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Pavloff also stated the budget shortfall could have a negative impact on students.

“We are very proud of our graduation rate of over 87% and the high levels of achievement of our First Nations and Métis students,” he said.

“We do not want to see students impacted as a result of budget constraints.”

With close to a decade of growth in enrolment numbers, the board is looking to the provincial government to review its funding formula to see if more funding can be allocated to the division.

“The funding formula is not working for our school division,” said John Kuzbik, the director of education for the division.

He stated the school division will lose transition funding that was in place as part of the new funding formula.

In 2014-15, the division will receive over $890,000 in transition funding, down from $895,000 in 2013-14 and $3.2 million in 2012-13.

Prairie Spirit School Division governs 45 schools in 28 communities surrounding Saskatoon, including Warman and Martensville.

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