Budget process under way in Saskatchewan Rivers

The Sask Rivers Education Centre/ Daily Herald File Photo

The budgeting process is under way in the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division.

Preliminary conversations with trustees began during the division’s Dec. 7 regular meeting.

 “We had a preliminary look at some principles and guidelines for budget development and the board formally approved them tonight,” director of education Robert Bratvold said.

“We got our audited financial statements completed (about) two weeks ago. Once that (fiscal) year is wrapped up then we can begin to look at the next year’s budget,” Bratvold said.

This is preliminary work before the process can really begin in January. The entire process takes six months with it usually passing in May or June.

 “We try to really make sure that we are not trying to figure out next year’s budget all year long because we have got to focus on this year’s work.”

“Our financial folks and the team there they will be doing some work all year long thinking about next year’s budget and refining it,” he explained.

The division is expecting another tough budget next year because of various factors.

“We have got a government that is in challenging fiscal circumstances with the costs of COVID and those sorts of things so that plays into the discussion,” he explained.

The other factor according to Bratvold was funding being based on enrolment numbers. In the government’s release about the most recent round of COVID-19 related funding that was clarified. The government explained, “In order to maintain funding stability for the education sector, school division operating grants will not be adjusted based on actual enrolments for the 2020-21 school year.”  

What that means is school divisions and independent schools will continue to receive funding based on their projected enrolments and will not see a decrease to their funding. 

“We have got costs related to COVID, the Ministry and Government, both Federal and Provincial, have been fairly supportive in recognizing those additional costs,” Bratvold said.