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Horizon gets look into budget

Posted on January 18, 2018 by Vauxhall Advance

By Cole Parkinson
Vauxhall Advance
cparkinson@tabertimes.com

The Horizon School Board was given a chance to take a look at a fall update to their 2017/18 budget. The board members were informed they were still slightly over budget, as was projected in the spring.

The updated budget shows their total revenues will clock in at $47,061,850, which is up from their spring budget which projected a total of $45,894,916.

As per usual a large chunk of the revenues will come from Alberta Education as they sit at $44,508,742.

Included in the revenue funds are $850,378 from fees, $626,026 from other sales and services, $11,595 from rental of facilities, $200,000 from donations and $320,000 from fundraising.

Horizon finance staff say Alberta Education funding is up from the original projections based on the help of four different situations.

“Because our funding is based on the September 30 enrolment numbers, we then take those numbers and update our funding calculations,” said Phil Johansen, associate superintendent of finance and operations for Horizon.”We update for any staffing changes that may have happened and we do a fall update. We were instructed by Alberta Education not to include that grant (Classroom Improvement Fund) so the Alberta Education funding will go up, the grant is worth $481,000. Another thing that is lumped in here is, we had left over money from infrastructure maintenance and renewal and that was $376,000. That was included in here as well which increases that, also our estimates in the spring for ECS (Early Childhood Services) enrolment for the year was quite conservative. The actual enrolments for ECS improved which increased our Alberta Education funding. Finally, with the completion of Barnwell School we are going to begin amortizing the expense of that modernization. There is a corresponding revenue portion to that as well that gets lumped into Alberta Education. So those four things really drive that increase to $1.1 million.”

On the other side, the board expects to spend $48,562,985 compared to the projection of the spring budget which had the mark at $47,581,509.

Included in the expenses are certificated salaries and wages at $20,461,287, non-certificated salaries and wages at $6,542,734, instruction for Grades 1-12 at $33,713,280 and transportation at $3,019,208.

“Expenses are broken into two different sections, you’ll note the amounts total to the same. So $48.5 million dollars for each section but it is sorted differently. You can see through early childhood services the expenses are anticipated to be higher and the rational for that is they have higher enrolments in ECS in the fall then in the spring, so we got allocated more expenditure to ECS,” said Johansen.

While teacher salaries continue to be the biggest investment for the board, this year they have seen other areas with reduced numbers to balance out their deficit.

“Our largest expense item of course is teacher salaries so you can see that is up $162,000. The big difference there again though is we didn’t include the classroom improvement fund in the spring budget so there are two full-time instructional coaches that are being funded out of that grant. We’ve increased our cost by $481,000 on account of that grant and actually under Grades 1-12 there is actually an increase but it is classified in here so we’ve had some reductions in other places,” said Johansen.

The board projects an annual deficit of $1,501,135 which has been shaved down from the spring budget.

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