Victoria Redirecting Administrative Savings Back to School Districts
Prince George, B.C. – Victoria announced this morning it will redirect $25 million in administrative savings back to school districts in the province.
For the Prince George School District that works out to $622,655 – money Education Minister Mike Bernier says will “help it deal with local cost pressures and provide front line service for students.”
He says the District is free to use the money as it wishes – be it for “ongoing classroom programs, hiring teachers, or for busing.”
“School District 57 has worked very hard to ensure that students receive the very best educational opportunities possible. In our regular meetings with the Board they made it clear that they were facing budget challenges,” says Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond. “I know that the ability to use these funds to support classrooms will be welcome news.”
Prince George School Board Chair Tony Cable figures the redirected funds have everything to do with next year’s provincial election.
“We have been struggling for the last number of years to balance budgets, the government has not covered MSP Premiums, BC Hydro rates, pay increases, they’ve made us give back money for what they call ‘administrative savings’ and then all of a sudden, a few months before the election campaign begins, they’re going to give back our money.
“It’s not new money, they’re not providing any additional funding – they’re giving back to us our money that we gave them.”
Bernier’s announcement is timely considering the Board was expected to give its annual budget bylaw third and final reading tonight at its public meeting.
What will this mean considering the Board had decided to dip into its surplus to the tune of just over $1 million to balance the books this year?
“We’ll have to crunch the numbers, but it will definitely have some impacts for sure. That’s something we’ll have to decide this evening although we were going to use the shortfalls out of surplus, so it may be simpler for us to return our money back to surplus.”