Lethbridge’s School District 51 budget update shows profit

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WATCH ABOVE: Things are looking good for the School District 51 budget. The school board providing an update to the 2016-2017 budget, and it was better than expected. As Quinn Campbell reports, enrollment is up, and that means extra dollars for the division – Nov 30, 2016

When the 2016-2017 school year started, School District 51 didn’t know exactly what its enrolment numbers would be, but it turns out numbers are up. That means more money for planning for current schools along with resources for a new school set to open in Lethbridge next year.

Enrolment is up by 0.7 per cent with a total of 10,647 students, adding an extra $558,000 to the budget.

Seventy-six per cent of the budget will be spent on staffing.

The district will employ 566 full-time teachers and 453 full-time support staff, an increase of 19 positions from last year.

“We are putting money towards the board’s No. 1 priority: to improve student achievement,” director of finances Christine Lee said. “We are putting money towards literacy resources.”

Total revenues for the 2016-17 year have been projected to reach $123.7 million, a 5.5 per cent increase from 2015-2016.

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About $6.1 million is being drawn from reserves to address board and school-site priorities, which include school-improvement initiatives and startup costs for the new Coalbanks Elementary School.

“The government funds, of course, the capital project, and they also provide money for furniture and equipment,” Lee said. “We do not get money from the government to add resources like papers, pens, textbooks and other learning resources and those are required when we open the new school here. So we have to supply that ourselves.”

Planning for the 2017-2018 budget will be rolled out in May.

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