Skip to content

District finances in black

Capital projects on track for school improvements

School District 47’s finances are in good shape despite having less money from the provincial government to operate Powell River’s public schools.

District secretary-treasurer Steve Hopkins presented his draft financial report, which covers a one year period ending June 30, 2014, to board of education trustees at its September meeting.

The district received an operating grant from the ministry of education for $20.7 million, about $700,000 less than in 2013. The district is currently one of many in BC under a funding protection program where the province provides 95 per cent of the previous year’s funding, in an attempt to ease problems with rapidly dropping enrolment. Over the past five years the district’s enrolment has shrunk by about 250 students.

The district brought in close to $300,000 in additional revenue from prepaid international student tuition which includes money from Sino Bright’s summer and winter programs last year.

A service contract with School District 93, Francophone Education Authority, brought in $122,475 in revenue.

Other provincial grants, rentals and investments brought the district’s total operating revenue up to $21.9 million, about $100,000 more than its total operating expenses.

Total salaries and benefits cost the district about $14.1 million. With the teachers’ labour action in May and June, 80 per cent of money earmarked for teachers’ salaries during the dispute reverted back to the provincial government.

About $400,000 is currently being held back on the $17.2-million Westview Elementary School capital project.

“Though we are still working through some deficiencies, on the books it’s done,” said Hopkins, adding that the school had a number of small issues to rectify as well as a larger drainage issue with the playing field.

Hopkins said the $3-million seismic and other upgrades on Henderson Elementary School is ahead of schedule and the district is working through the last part of renovating Oceanview Education Centre. He reported that there is about $1.5 million available for school upgrades. Once the Henderson project is complete they will move on to other improvements at James Thomson Elementary and Kelly Creek Community schools, both being in need of new boilers and windows. Kelly Creek also needs new siding.