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Shock, concern, worry — School District 43 trustees comment on $7.5M deficit
Trustees were asked to comment on the School District 43 projected deficit for the 2012/2013 school year and explain how it happened. The following an excerpt from their responses:
Port Moody trustee, board chair
"The accountability rests on the board to be fiscally responsible and accountable... As far as we knew, we were in a very good position...
"There are a lot of unknown factors between now [Feb. 26, when an amended SD43 budget must be passed] and with the election [and the Feb. 6 provincial budget]. I would not at all be surprised to see an injection of cash."
Port Coquitlam, vice chair
"We're only as good as the questions we asked and obviously we weren't asking the right questions. We have to dig a little deeper and, with staff increasing more then they expected as well, just the utilities [increasing], the benefits, everything at once, EI, CPP, everything started adding up."
"We probably should ask more questions. You go over this during the year and you're pretty confident in what you're doing and the information you get you go by. I'm sure we're going to be more conservative next time around and hopefully we don't have any staff layoffs. That's a big worry."
"I think it's a perfect storm in many respects. Last year, the information we had we thought we could count on and when we looked at in the brighter light, it wasn't as good as we thought it would be."
"It came late in the year and everybody was shocked, and it was, I guess, as [CUPE Local 561 president] Dave Ginter said, it was the fall off of the enrolment numbers and the impact that had."
"I think also the fact that we had declining enrolment of 223 students was a big one but I'm still not really sure what that means. Were those students never there or were there reasons that we lost them? That is something we need to dig into as a board to make sure we don't make the same mistake in the future."
"I don't think it's a matter of fault, I think this is a matter of numbers. We deal with numbers all the time — they go up and down... At the point when there seems to be no other number changes, at that point, we'll have to make some hard decisions."
Did not return calls.
Did not return calls.