Greg MacPherson, secretary treasurer for the Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education, presented the third quarter financial update at the June 20 regularly scheduled meeting. The update includes changes over the past three months and was current as of May 31, 2023.
Total revenue for Q3 is about $37.3 million, an increase of about $200,000 over Q2. Expenses also increased by $300,000 and the surplus reduced from $140,119 in Q2 to $25,717 for Q3.
Expenses in the instructional pool are more than $10,000 higher than expected, partly due to criminal record checks for teachers. These must be done on a regular basis and the division is responsible for paying for them.
The certified instructional staff pool is almost $68,000 higher, primarily due to a higher FTE (full-time equivalent) based supplement and new teachers hired and given contracts in April, May and June.
School based budgets are more than $40,000 higher.
“The major driver there is the learning loss expenses. Now those grants have come through and we are passing them off to schools, we are seeing higher expenses, as you would expect,” MacPherson told the board.
School-generated funds are seeing higher spending from more activities, which is also complemented by more fund-raising side. When those budgets were set, there was lots of uncertainty coming out of COVID, so schools were cautious when doing projections. Now that schools are returning to pre-pandemic levels of activity, there is an increase in both revenue and expenses.
Learning services saw $103,852 more than projected in Q2 due to service expenses being $40,000 higher, certified staff $33,000 higher and non-certified staff, primarily within the casual pool, was $20,000 higher than anticipated.
Technology support saw a $51,000 savings primarily due to the completion of the cyber-security project for the current year. That money will be available for the projects next year.
International education expenses were more than $43,000 higher than expected, mostly due to salary costs and staff transitions throughout the year.
Trustee Dick Mastel asked about the cost of substitute teachers and if it was higher than expected. Subs are part of the certified instructional pool and MacPherson explained MHCBE spent somewhat more than expected but not excessively so.
Trustee David Leahy requested the board set aside money for a retreat at some point next year to perform a review or evaluation of the international education program. Leahy says he understands the many quantifiable benefits of the program but argues there are both positive and negative impacts.
Chair Kathy Glasgo commented that an evaluation of the program has not been done yet and it’s a good time to complete one. The matter was put on the agenda for the next board retreat.
By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Jun 28, 2023