By Nancy Kelly
Kings County Advertiser/Register
A second consecutive year of reduced provincial funding to school boards is making budget planning “a difficult and at times an excruciating” experience, school board superintendent Margo Tait said April 4.
At the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board April meeting, Tait prepared members for potential cuts to programs and services.
“This second round of funding cuts is requiring difficult decisions for our system and differences to service delivery will be felt. Some things that are important will need to be down-scaled or suspended through this extended period of restraint.”
Noting the board’s obligation to arrive at a balanced budget, Tait said staffing is being looked at “in parallel” to budget discussions. She said she anticipated board members will get their first look at a draft budget during a private work session planned for April 26. I
If a budget document emerges from that meeting, it will go before the board’s finance and audit committee for review. A recommendation to approve the draft budget will then be forwarded to the full board for approval. Given the timeline, Tait said she doesn’t expect the budget will be finalized until the board’s June meeting.
With the provincial budget recently tabled Tait is hopeful the board will receive its profile sheets with confirmed final funding figures in the near future.
Adding further pressure to the school board’s budget crunch is a requirement by the Department of Education to submit a revised capital project list. Each school board must submit updated construction and renovation priorities to a maximum of seven projects. This process has prompted school board staff to review previously submitted projects as well as identify new priorities.
Discussion and review of the regional board’s capital list will take place at the April 16 operations committee meeting. Approval of the new list will occur at a special board meeting scheduled for April 19. The province will inform school boards which projects are approved next fall.