The Central Okanagan School District is moving ahead with budget cuts forced by inflationary pressures.
The SD23 board voted Wednesday to approve superintendent Kevin Kaardal’s plan to deal with a $3.332 million shortfall in the 2022/23 budget.
The school district was forced to make the reductions due to the provincial government’s per pupil funding staying flat this year, despite soaring inflation.
"We were able to work with our team to find ways lower costs and maintain all the learning services we offer students now," said Kaardal in a news release.
"As a growing district, the budget will still increase from last year and we'll have more staff. The cost pressures, mainly brought on by inflation, will only limit how much we can grow programs and services."
The reductions included the cutting of 7.5 full-time equivalent core teaching positions, to save $795,540. Two vice-principal positions are being eliminated under a ‘reorganizing of schools’ for a savings of $311,040.
The district also plans on saving $347,269 as it returns to “pre-COVID-19 pandemic custodial staffing levels,” which will allow the district to cut seven janitorial positions. And a rapid test program for school staff who choose not to be vaccinated for COVID-19 was paused last month, which is expected to save about $50,000.
The plan will also increase revenue by $450,000 by expanding the international education program by 30 students.
"Funding not keeping pace with inflation is a problem for all school districts now," says Moyra Baxter, Chairperson for the Board of Education.
"While staff had to get creative to maintain services this year, we hope that government funding next year will reflect the increasing costs faced by school districts. In the meantime, we will continue to lobby the provincial government for adequate funding for our public school system."