Shrinking surplus for UCDSB

BROCKVILLE – A nearly $1 million in-year budget surplus for the Upper Canada District School Board has shrunk to just over $300,000.

Superintendent of Business Nancy Barkley updated trustees on the financial numbers last night (Wednesday) on the nearly $350 million budget.

Individual school budgets and a loss of revenue, due to declining enrollment, has taken the biggest bite out of the extra money.

But Barkley maintains the budget and the outlook is still “stable” and complies with ministry standards.

The surplus started at $913,215 at the beginning of the school year but has drifted down to $499,126. In Barkley’s latest update, that number has now shrunk to $343,592 – a further loss of $155,534.

The main hits were a $220,000 loss of Ontario government funding for students and a $250,000 hit from schools, who are anticipating overspending in their budgets. An analysis of what the board needed for workplace injury claims (WSIB) also hit the budget by $70,000.

That was offset by gains in the budget of $220,000, mainly from the Upper Canada Leger Center, and a $160,000 change in funding for English as a second language training.

“(We are) still with a positive projected surplus. Just not quite as large as the last time we were here,” Barkley said.

Barkley said enrollment is down an average daily enrollment (ADE) of nearly 48 students – the biggest loss is in the high school sector. Though the enrollment is still up from original forecasts.

A clearer picture on enrollment numbers is expected in June.

“Of the kids that we saw leave, the 47.9 (ADE), do we know why they left?” trustee Jeremy Armer asked. Staff explained that it was a projected figure.

“I’d like to know, is it something we’re not doing as a board, why we are not meeting those projected numbers,” Armer stated.

The UCDSB does have an accumulated surplus, which is the school board equivalent of a reserve or rainy day fund. That account has nearly $8 million, which the board can draw on if it falls into deficit.

The board’s plan is to build that accumulated surplus to $12 million by 2022.