Catholic School Division talks budget details at board meeting

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The Prince Albert Catholic School Division board of education met for the first time in the 2023-2024 school year on Monday at the Education Centre.

With the recent passing of the provincial budget the Prince Albert Catholic School Division board of education had an agenda that was very heavy on budget-related matters.

Director of Education Lorel Trumier handled the duties of Chief Financial Officer Greg McEwen, as he was unable to attend the meeting.

“(There is) a slight reduction in some components for sure, like Preventative maintenance and Renewal and in base instruction and those kinds of things,” Trumier said. “But, we saw increases in other areas like school-based supports and supports for learning.”

The board also heard about the continuation of targeted support funding to hire educational assistants, along with classroom complexity.

The division is eligible to receive $546,985 from both parts of targeted funding. This funding will be integrated into the division’s 2023-2024 budget.

The board also heard that the division would receive $375,575 more than last year, pending the enrolment adjustment on Sept. 30, 2024.

Trumier said the division will prioritize a balanced budget.

“We’ll budget conservatively to some degree as we know that it’s impacted by that mid-year adjustment either positively or negatively in terms of the number of students that are in our school division,” Trumier said.

The division saw enrolment increase in both of the last two school years, leading to slight mid-year adjustments.

“We’ve been blessed to have more students attending our schools and wanting to be a part of our Educational community and so that obviously supports the processes of budgeting to operate our schools,” Trumier said.

“We will wait and see. Sept. 30 is always a big day, and we know that registrations are occurring in our schools as we speak. We’re hoping that our families continue to support what we do.”

The division will also see a $736 decrease in Preventative Maintenance and Renewal (PMR) money.

In 2018, the Catholic Division enacted a bylaw where they can determine its own separate school division tax and set education mill rates. The division is required to pass a resolution each year before April 20 to set their own property tax mill rates.

At the meeting on Monday, the board chose to set their mill rate the same as that of the province. The 2024 provincial mill rate is 1.42 mills for agricultural property, 4.54 for residential property, 6.86 mills for commercial/industrial property and 9.88 mills for resource property.

The board has also set dates for their audit committee to review the budget.