Prince George School District 57 passed a $170 million budget on Tuesday night, which board chair Tim Bennett described as a significant improvement from past years.
The district dipped into their surplus from the previous year, using $10 million of the $15.1 million total surplus. Bennett said the surplus will be used to cover costs in elementary and secondary schools. The operating budget is balanced and does not dip into the surplus.
"We are definitely in a much better financial position than we were a couple of years ago. And a large portion of that is due to the increased enrolment," Bennett said.
The district saw full-time equivalent enrolment of 13,029 school-age children for this school year, along with 95 adult learners.
Budget numbers for the coming year included $116 million in salaries and benefits and $112 million for instructional needs. The district collected close to $150 million from the ministry of education in grants.
The budget was a far cry from the financial position of the district in 2015. At that time, School District 57 had only one per cent of its annual operating budget as a safety net, and faced a $700,000 deficit. The district was described as being close to a "breaking point" at the time by trustee Brenda Hooker.
This year's budget is the second year in a row the district has avoided using the district surplus to cover administrative operations.