Quesnel’s Board of Education has passed a Preliminary Operating Budget that is not only balanced, but also includes a few extras.

Secretary-Treasurer Bettina Ketcham explains how they go there…

“This year for the 2019-2020 operating budget we were pleased with the ministry of Education’s announcement for additional funding to the education sector. We were able to avoid any sort of cuts and in fact are expecting a surplus for next year. That allows us to re-invest those dollars back into the system, and in fact because of the number of requests and the educational priorities that the Board would like to place on these requests, we’re dipping into our accumulated operating surplus funds to be able to entertain all these items for the 2019-2020 school year.”

Ketcham says the use of the surplus and the extra money from the province allowed them to do the following…

-Maintenance of the current staffing levels of education assistants. We continue to have students with special needs and additional requirements come into our school district and that requires some support from our educational assistants, so that’s to maintain the level that we currently have presently in our system. That’s a 231 thousand dollar investment.

-We also have additional vision and psychologist consultant time. We have a student coming in with some vision impairment and we need to provide services and supports for that student, so that is a cost of $17,100.

-We have curriculum support teachers that are being added back to the system as well. We’re undergoing a new curriculum development across all of British Columbia and until we get to a point where that is sort of the norm and we’re no longer in a state of transition, there is curriculum support teachers that are going to be working with teachers to help develop the supports necessary to implement the new curriculum, and that’s a cost of 86 thousand dollars.

-We also then are adding in some additional temporary staffing and time at both our transportation and maintenance departments. The transportation department is looking to have some preventative maintenance models implemented and that requires an additional mechanic in the system, as well as our maintenance department is taking on additional responsibilities of information-technology, so additional staffing is required to support that department, so that’s 83 thousand.

-There has also been some significant requests, not only from our Principals and Vice-principals group but also the teachers within our district, that have spoken of the need for administrative support at some of our largest and most vulnerable sites, and so adding in some supports there would be 188 thousand dollar investment.

-And we also some wage adjustments to honour the years of service of some of our exempt staff members as well

The Board of Education gave all three readings to the budget on Wednesday night.

The total budget is just over 40.2 million dollars.