© John DeCoste - kingscountynews.ca
Director of finance Stuart Jamieson delivers the school board‚Äôs 2014-2015 budget presentation at the June 18 board meeting in Berwick.
At its monthly meeting June 18 in Berwick, the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board approved, by unanimous vote, a $136,883,447 operating budget.
In presenting the budget, finance director Stuart Jamieson said the budget ‚Äúis based on our board‚Äôs principles,‚ÄĚ the first and foremost of which ‚Äúis improving student achievement and success.‚ÄĚ
The board budgeted for 892.33 full-time equivalent school-based teaching positions, an increase of approximately nine over last year, even though enrolment continues to go down.
There will be no change in the allotment of educational assistants, which remains at 1,500 hours per day. The board also holds the line in such areas as the student support program and student supervision, while support for the native student advisor program is being increased.
New provincial class size caps of 20 students to one teacher are in place for Grades Primary to 2, with a ratio of 25 to 1 for Grade 3. There are five new elementary guidance positions, and a new student services allocation process.
The board will also create an experiential middle school program at Lawrencetown Education Centre, along the same lines as the three experiential high school sites.
More of the board‚Äôs custodial and janitorial services are being moved in house and the allocation for major maintenance has been retained.
Jamieson also reported ‚Äústrong growth‚ÄĚ in the International Student Program, which sees its budget increased by around $250,000.
A strong International Student Program, he said, is a potential source of revenue for ‚Äúour schools, the community, and the board.‚ÄĚ
The board has budgeted to spend more than in 2013-2014 in most major budget areas. The largest increases are in programs and student services - up by $1.7 million - and school administration and instruction - a $1.5 million increase.
Overall, the board will spend 76.46 per cent of its budget on school instruction and administration. Property services, at 9.99 per cent, is the next largest expenditure. Jamieson pointed out that, while the board‚Äôs revenue increased by $3,452,200, or 2.9 per cent, most of that funding is targeted toward specific initiatives.
‚ÄúAll of our employee groups will receive a three per cent raise this year, and there are other inflationary pressures we will have to absorb,‚ÄĚ Jamieson said. The 2.9 per cent increase will cover part of those increases.
Moving forward, he added, ‚Äúwe are hopeful we will be able to continue to provide additional program improvements and supports to students in the coming years in accordance with the board‚Äôs goals and priorities.‚ÄĚ
Enrolment in AVRSB
2014-2015: 13,045 (projected)