By J.W. Schnarr
Horizon School Division appears to finally have their ducks in a row, financially speaking, but after getting their funding restored by the provincial government they are still going to need to dip into reserves to balance the numbers. During their regular meeting on June 16, the HSD board of trustees passed a motion to accept their new budget. The Notley government then restored that funding.
“In lieu of what the new government has done recently, in unfreezing our reserves, we have looked at our new budget possibilities, and I’d like to present the budget we have agreed upon which would take $517,000 out of reserves in order to balance the budget,” said Vice Chair Bruce Francis. “I’d like to present this budget as being the one we send in and use for this next year. It gives us an opportunity to continue on as we were, and keep the staff we need.”
According to a memorandum released by Marie Logan, board chair, the initial budget shortfall amounted to $1.65 million. With the reinstatement has been a return of grant funding to 2014-2015 levels, as well as an increase in base funding of 1.8 per cent. Class size has received a two per cent enhancement. The changes have resulted in a budget deficit of $1.02 million for HSD.
Additionally, the Notley government removed the freeze on reserve funds by the previous government, which will allow HSD to cover $356,000 in unamortized capital assets and approved $517,000 in order to balance the budget.