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Prairie Rose shrinks expected budget shortfall

Posted on June 1, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

By Samantha Johnson

Commentator/Courier

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

At the regularly scheduled board meeting of Prairie Rose Public Schools, the budget for 2023-24 was presented by Ryan Boser, chief financial officer. The budget comes in with a deficit of $167,381, a significant decrease from the planned deficit of $927,000.

The budget sees an Alberta Education operational funding increase of $3.2 million from last year, with instructional funding increasing by $2 million.

This includes grant increases, new classroom complexity funding, mental health pilot project funding and $852,400 for the Teacher Salary Settlement grant.

There is an assumption that support staff will see the same two per cent increase, which has been accounted for in the budget, but additional funding was not supplied by Alberta Education to cover this cost.

Average teacher cost will increase from $105,000 to $107,231 for PRPS. There are fewer retirements than normal this year so the average is higher. They are estimating an enrolment decrease of 32 students from the 2022-23 school year.

Technology upgrades include $96,000 for computers, $162,574 on new interactive touch panels that will replace SMART boards and $221,000 on Chromebooks as PRPS continues to run them on a three-year cycle.

Operations and maintenance budget is an area that has been a struggle since the new funding model was introduced a few years ago and then had money removed from to be put into services and support. Boser stated that PRPS lost $785,000 overall at that time. A $1.13-million deficit is expected in operations and maintenance for next year.

Rural Transportation is expecting a $1-million increase, but this is now a targeted grant, meaning any surplus can’t be moved to other budget lines. With the continued shortage of school bus drivers, Boser stated they limited new planned routes to four. As a result, there is a projected surplus of $844,388 in transportation.

The full budget can be viewed in the agenda package for the May 23 board meeting and accessed from http://www.myprps.com.

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