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More cash for SD43

School District 43 will be ending the 2010/’11 school year with a little more money in the bank than expected.  - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
School District 43 will be ending the 2010/’11 school year with a little more money in the bank than expected.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

School District 43 will be ending the 2010/’11 school year with a little more money in the bank than expected.

More than $600,000 will be flowing to SD43 from a contingency fund the province holds back until final enrolment numbers are confirmed for the year.

This is the second allotment awarded to the district since a final student count in May, resulting in a total $1.1 million in additional funding, said SD43’s assistant secretary treasurer, Bob Janzen.

Janzen said there is no set purpose for the funds because the board opted not to count the holdback grant in its budget in case it didn’t materialize, leaving the district with some wriggle room for unexpected expenses next year.

But in a reversal from last year’s conservative stance, the board this year decided to include the grant as part of its regular operating expenses and is counting on it to pay for as yet unspecified contractual obligations and to restore cuts from previous budgets as well as a special program to get non-attending students back to school.

This year’s full grant gives the board some room to manoeuvre, Janzen said. “We never know whether the holdback is coming and we weren’t anticipating a further holdback.”

In May, the district approved a $250-million budget to operate the district’s 67 schools. Today (Wednesday) is the last day of school for many students who are about to start their summer break. School resumes for the district’s 30,000 students on Sept. 6.

Meanwhile, the results of a teachers’ strike vote should be announced today after a vote supervised by the Labour Relations Board concluded Tuesday.

In SD43, the majority of approximately 2,000 teachers were expected to cast ballots in favour of job action to back contract demands.

Should the BC Teachers’ Federation vote result in a strike mandate, parents and students will not notice any change because meetings about student progress will continue, Coquitlam Teachers’ Association president Teresa Grandinetti said.

But report cards may be delayed because the job action will mean teachers won’t do any paperwork or participate in any administrative tasks.

B.C.’s teachers are seeking improvements to wages and benefits as well as class size and composition, a reduction in case loads, more class preparation time and improved learning specialist ratios. Another issue important to teachers is local bargaining.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

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