Busing, financial shortfall among topics at upcoming Okanagan Skaha school district meeting

School District 67 will be holding a monthly board of education meeting on Monday in Penticton, where a budget shortfall will be discussed. Google Maps

Transportation and balancing the books will be among the topics when School Board 67 officials meet on Monday evening.

According to an agenda that was released on Friday, the district is facing a shortfall.

The monthly, board of education meeting will start at 6:30 p.m., at the school district’s administration office at 425 Jermyn Ave. in Penticton.

READ MORE: Student busing: Central Okanagan board of education recommends $75 fee hike instead of $225

In the agenda, a memorandum from secretary-treasurer Kevin Lorenz said the district “started the year in a deficit position due to significant increases in staffing costs during the prior school year.

These costs were the result of a number of factors, including a more than 25-per cent increase with identified complex needs over the course of the year, in addition to a significant increase in substitute costs.”

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Central Okanagan Public School releases first survey results from transportation review

It continued, saying, “these factors resulted in approximately $1.5 million in cost pressures that were not anticipated in the budget approved by the board last May.”

It also said “the district has seen some increased revenues to offset these pressures and staff have taken efforts where practical to reduce costs without impacting students. Without further reductions, the district would face a shortfall of over ($800,000).”

“It is staff’s recommendation that the board address this shortfall with a one-time transfer to local capital of expenses that were originally included in the operating budget. This will allow for a balanced budget without requiring reductions to staffing or supply budgets beyond the normal adjustments made each year after enrolments are finalized.”

READ MORE: North Okanagan-Shuswap School District planning to avert overcrowding

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As for transportation, feedback will be provided during Monday’s meeting from earlier public consultation sessions held in January.

According to the agenda:

  • Feedback was consistent that eligible catchment area riders should take priority in the transportation system and that courtesy riders should pay for transportation services.
  • It was a priority for those in attendance that, regardless of how fees were implemented (quarterly, bi-annually, or year), parents should be given sufficient notice to allow for time to plan for the cost or to consider other arrangements.
  • Most parents felt $1-$2 per day was a reasonable amount to charge for transportation.
  • Once fees are paid and seats are assigned to courtesy riders, they should not be able to be revoked.
  • A cap for families with over three kids was recommended.

To view the agenda, click here.

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