CRCS budget nearing $100-million

Education: A near-balanced budget passed in spring

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 09, 2014 12:58 pm

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Christ the Redeemer Catholic School division will enter the 2014-15 school year with a balanced budget approaching nine figures.

The division passed a nearly balanced budget of approximately $99-million in late May.

“We are maybe $200,000 in the hole, but with a $99-million budget, that is basically a balanced budget,” said Michael Kilcommons, CRCS assistant superintendent-corporate services.

The 2013-14 budget was approximately $90-million. CRCS is the third largest separate school system in Alberta. It has schools in Okotoks, High River, Canmore, Drumheller, Strathmore, Brooks and Oyen. Kilcommons said there is little in new money despite an extra $9-million in revenue. Most of that $9-million is due to more students enrolling for the following school year, Kilcommons explained.

“It is mostly enrolment,” Kilcommons said. “When the government came up with its budget back in February they were talking about increased funding to education — most of that was to cover increased enrolment. It wasn’t actual money, it was ‘if you get new students, we plan to fund them.’”

The biggest item on the expenditures side is teachers’ salary, with an additional $500,000 to push it up about $77-million.

While the salaries may be an expenditure on the books, teachers are an investment for the students’ future and continuing good education, he said.

“That is where the biggest portion of our budget goes to,” Kilcommons said. “It has to be your biggest investment because that is where your students are going to benefit the most.”

He said the school division still has stressers, but he does not believe they are due to the 2014-15 budget.

“Our pressure points continue to be staffing, especially around the schools which have the big English-language learners persons,” Kilcommons said.

The school division is also hoping to maintain classroom sizes, despite the ever-growing population of Okotoks.

“Okotoks is a bigger challenge, because it is our biggest population,” Kilcommons said.

Alberta school boards will submit a revised budget at the end of September when their student enrolment numbers are finalized.

Kilcommons is taking a half-glass-full approach to the upcoming budget.

“Everybody wants more money, but overall we have been given a budget that is tight but very manageable.”

The division has $7.3-million in reserves, much of it will be used for portable classrooms and to help with the new Centre For Learning building.


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