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Prince George’s school district facing $2.3 million budget shortfall

Final budget deliberations have been delayed until the June board meeting
SD57 Prince George board offices on Ferry Avenue.

School District No. 57 (SD57) Prince George is facing a budget shortfall of $2.3 million for the 2023/24 school year.

At SD57’s Tuesday night board meeting acting Secretary Treasurer Lynda Minnabarriet explained during budget preparations a shortfall of $2 million was initially identified.

While the district has identified around $2 million in reductions, it will also have to use $400,000 of unappropriated operating surplus to balance the budget.

However, the district will have to delay further budget discussions until it’s June 27 board meeting as the district was waiting on announcement regarding salary increases for exempt staff. 

“What we have learned is that we had anticipated a grant of about $1.1 million but the grant is actually about $800,000 so while currently we show use of surplus of about $400,000 we are currently looking for a further $300,000 based on the grant that was received,” said Minnabarriet.

“It gives us more time to present a draft budget in June we will be able to be more confident on the total revenue that has been allocated as well as expenses.”

Board Chair Rachael Weber said the district gets a certain amount of money each year, but with inflation that number becomes a challenge. However, she added the district will not be taking any supports away from classrooms.

“We're trying to keep the monies in the school, it's very important to us that we don't take money out of schools. We're definitely going to use the month of June to really analyze the budget and really pay attention to the shortcomings of what our secretary treasurer was able to bring forward.”

She said the ultimate push will be balance the budget without having to touch more of the surplus.

“We love the union's ideas, people have wrote us letters, recommendations, we're looking at everything to really make sure that we're respecting the public's wishes. If we have to make cuts, where those cuts are going to come from - super hard conversations they are going to be had, and then hopefully be able to bring something positive to the June board meeting.”

She added that the board needs to put the pressure on the Ministry of Education to ask for more money.

The board is required to submit a balanced budget to the Minister of Education and Child Care by June 30, 2023.

Reductions already identified in SD57's 23/24 annual budget. SD57