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 2% 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.
By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on May 24, 2023