By Tim Kalinowski
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Prairie Rose School Division is anticipating a deficit of about $755,000 for the 2017/2018 school year. The updated fall budget was tabled at the PRSD board of trustees meeting last Tuesday in Dunmore.
The previously projected deficit in the spring forecast was expected to be $655,000.
The higher-than-anticipated deficit was mainly the result of having 44 fewer full-time students enrolled than expected. PRSD also received fewer grant increases than hoped for from Alberta Education.
This lack of grant increases was especially apparent in the division’s transportation costs. Of the $755,000 projected deficit, about $530,000 occurred as a result of a shortfall in the division’s transportation budget due to demands for busing spread out over a large, sparsely-populated rural area.
Trustee Cathy Hogg said rural school boards across the province have been lobbying the province for years to change the formula on how transport funding is allocated.
“We are not alone in this situation,” she said. “I know administration is doing the best they can, but I would also like to give a shout out to the (PSBAA) rural caucus, and their continued efforts to exact some changes in the way (transportation) is funded.