The Hanover School Division may be short on funds for the coming school year.
At their annual public budget consultation on Tuesday, it was made clear that this year’s total revenue increase of around $1.4 million from provincial funding and ratepayers will not compensate for the increase in expenses.
“The public budget consultation meeting lays out the facts and tells us what we have to work with,” explains Finance Committee Chair Rick Peters. In this case, it would appear that what the division has to work with is simply not enough.
An estimated $2.4 million is needed in the 2019-2020 school year to cover rising staff wages, operation costs, French immersion fees, as well as fund continuing projects like the Niverville High School construction, and the school’s Deeper Learning Program.
“It is fortunate that we have already heard the funding announcement which we typically don’t know at this point,” admits Peters. At the same time, however, he calls it the most challenging budget he has seen in his five years as a trustee.
Despite this apparent financial shortage, the School Board plans on soldiering forward, investing roughly $92 million on the 8,300 students expected in the division this coming year.
Meanwhile, Peters notes that some other ratepayer concerns arose from the recent budget meeting.
“There are changing dynamics of the students in our division,” explains Peters, “and there are different needs today that maybe there weren’t ten years ago.”
According to Peters, one of these changes is a growing awareness of mental health. He says some ratepayers are hoping to see more resources put towards that end.
Peters says all public concerns are valuable and will be taken into account as the Board continues to move develop a strategic budgeting solution.