Victoria school board approves surplus budget; increases educational assistant funding

The Greater Victoria School District approved its 2011/12 operating budget – one that includes a rare surplus.

School board trustees finalized the $172-million budget during a special board meeting April 11. The board plans to use the extra $72,473 available on educational assistants.

Since they work part time and often between several classrooms, the money could assist a number of classes, School Board chair Tom Ferris said.

Ferris admitted that, in the scope of the entire budget, the surplus is modest.

“From the perspective of the board, the fact that we’re actually able to put some money into education is pretty important… If you looked across North America you wouldn’t find too many jurisdictions that were able to balance their budgets, never mind put some money back into it.”

The figures are based on a projected enrolment of 19,374 full-time students – an increase of 200 students from September 2010 across the district’s 47 schools. Of those, 257 students are adults.

Prior to the surplus, the district had planned for 1,180 educator positions and 820 non-teaching staff members. Instructional staffing was budgeted based on the 2010/11 operating budget.

“It’s a note of optimism and certainly we will continue to advocate for more money for education for students,” Ferris added.