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Enrolment projected to drop in SD8 for next school year: report

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
June 10th, 2024

Enrolment and funding are dropping in the school district but school trustees will be receiving a raise, according to the district’s secretary treasurer.

Cathy MacArthur said the enrolment projections for the next school year in School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) show a drop of 70 students (from 4,702) based on early projections.

This is a projected decline of 70.4375 full-time equivalent (FTE) students which is predominantly made up of regular Kindergarten to Grade 12 school enrolments, said SD8 secretary treasurer MacArthur in her report to the SD8 board recently.

At current 2023-2024 per student FTE funding levels, this would result in an approximate total funding reduction of $603,684 which includes:

  • a reduction in the basic enrolment based funding of $610,333;
  • a reduction in the supplement for unique student needs of $110,365; and
  • an increase in the supplement for enrolment declines of $117,014.

“Funding protection funding would not be triggered as the overall decline in the operating grant does not exceed 1.5 per cent,” said MacArthur.

However, despite the expected reduction in financing, the SD8 school board trustees will be accepting a 3.399 per cent raise — effective July 1 — that was based on the B.C. Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The board of education of each school district in the province spends a significant amount of time and effort in discharging the responsibilities entrusted to the board as part of the governance process, MacArthur explained.

Under Policy 131: Trustee Indemnity, trustee remuneration is calculated for each July 1 based on the change between the most recent Dec. 31 B.C. CPI published rate as compared to the Dec. 31, B.C. CPI for the year prior.

“Trustee remuneration rates based on the British Columbia Consumer Price Index allow for the annual adjustments to keep pace with inflation without exceeding it,” MacArthur explained. “Such an adjustment recognizes the ongoing work done by the trustees in a fair and objective manner.”

Those increases translate into a remuneration bump for the SD8 board chair from $23,640 in 2023-24 to $24,444 in 2024-25. The SD8 vice-chair will bring home $22,137 — up from $21,409 — while each trustee will pocket $21,177 for the next year (up from $20,481).

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