The operating budget is an expenditure plan to meet the daily requirements of the District. That includes teacher salaries, classroom resources, keeping the schools clean and the fields mowed, transporting students to school, paying utility bills, providing clerical and administrative support – all the things a school needs when it opens its doors.Capital expenditures refer to acquisition or improvement of assets. A bus purchase would be a capital expenditure. The seismic upgrade going on at Parksville Elementary School is a capital expenditure. These projects are funded directly by the Ministry of Education. They are not paid out of operating funds.
Approximately 90% of the District's operating funds are received as a grant from the Province. The Province uses a formula to distribute funding to all school districts, and that formula is primarily driven by a district's enrollment. In 2008-09, the block funding amount was $5,851 per student and represented 70% of the Provincial grant.
It pays for educational programs including:
- Career Prep
- Learning Resources
- Library and Counseling Services
- School Office Supplies
It also pays for fixed costs including:
- Building and grounds maintenance
- Heating and Utilities
- Custodial services
- Education and business administrative services
This funding does not include capital projects.
Work on the Preliminary Budget for the coming school year begins in January as staff begin to project enrolment, revenue, and costs. While the deadline for submitting the Preliminary Budget is June 30th, the School District attempts to complete their budget process before the end of April in order to plan for September staffing.
The Board of Education holds a Public Budget Consultation meeting in February. At this meeting, staff review the budget process and seek the public's input as to budget priorities for the coming year. Then a series of public budget meetings occur in April when the Board receives notice of the revenue figures for the coming year, the proposed changes to the budget recommended by staff based on input from the public, district partners and staff, and makes a series of decisions that will balance the budget. The dates for these meetings are on the public budget meeting calendar with the exception of the Public Budget Consultation meeting in February; please check back on this website and watch for notices in the paper and school newsletters for the date of this meeting.
The School District is required to have an audit performed every year,
and to provide the public with the results of the audit. In addition, the
Board of Education must report information about major expenditures in a
Statement of Financial Information. The annual Audit is presented to the
Board in September of the following year, and the Statement of Financial
Information is presented to the Board in December that following year.
Once accepted by the Board, these documents are available to the public (September
30 and December 31 respectively).
In actual fact, only one third of revenue for education is received from property tax, and if the taxpayer receives a homeowner or a senior grant, none of their property tax goes towards education.
The Board does not have the authority to raise taxes. Mill rates for school districts are set by the Province. A School District can hold a referendum to raise funds for very specific purposes, but not for operating costs.
The Board of Education is legally required to submit a balanced budget. Should the Board decide not to do so, they would be replaced by an officer appointed by the Ministry of Education.
The Capital Budget functions separately from the Operating Budget. The Board of Education submits a Five Year Capital Plan to the Ministry of Education every year, with items the Board considers necessary in priority order. The Ministry of Education reviews each district's Five Year Capital Plan and assigns their priority number to each item. Only items prioritized as Number One are funded by the Ministry of Education. Funding for Capital projects is received separately from the Operating Budget and are accounted and reported separately.