School division budget tabled
Rocky View Schools (RVS) will need at least another week to pass its budget for 2012-2013.
The $173 million in revenue, up 3.6 per cent from last year, represents a “good news” budget, said RVS Superintendent of Schools Greg Bass at the May 17 board meeting.
There simply was not enough time to discuss the finer points of the budget or for trustees to add amendments to the motion, said Trustee Don Thomas.
RVS agreed to meet on May 24 and take another crack at getting the budget sent to Alberta Education for approval.
Some of the highlights of the budget were a one per cent increase to basic instructional grants and a two per cent increase in other provincial grants.
An infusion of $5.4 million in new monies was also received through a revised special education funding grant. New revenues from the grant agreement would make it possible for RVS to hire a full-time psychologist, occupational therapist and a speech pathologist in 2012.
RVS Plant Operations and Maintenance department has laid-off three full-time carpenters and closed its in-house millwork shop because of “rising utility costs, additional school buildings square footage and labour costs far outstripping grant increases over the past few years.”
The budget also calls for no salary increases to be given to any staff member of RVS in 2012-2013.
“That is a big assumption and it is one that this budget is built on,” said RVS Secretary Treasurer Darrell Couture.
“I want to make sure everyone is aware of this.”
Thomas, whose motion to defer the budget talks to a later date was defeated, said the May 31 deadline to submit the budget can likely be extended.
Thomas said he agreed the budget is better than previous years, but the board needs to deliberate and examine the numbers to do RVS’ stakeholders justice.
“We’ve had two years of real tough budgets,” Thomas said.
“You’re always complaining for more, and then at some point you have to shut up and go deal with what you’ve got.
“We will have another long meeting, and it will depend how the questions go, but we will work hard to get this passed.”