The superintendent of the Kootenay Lake school district says student learning should not be sacrificed despite cuts to balance the district’s budget.
A draft budget submitted earlier this year showed that SD 8 was facing a shortfall of $1.4 million. The board initiated a “critical” review to critically evaluate where operations could be improved to reduce costs without affecting the classroom.
Superintendent Trish Smillie said in an interview that she is “very confident that the budget will not mean a loss of programming for students in the upcoming academic year.”
The review meant that adjustments had to be made. One of these changes was to cut the student laptop program. The program that was introduced in February 2021 saw each Grade 7 student get a new laptop during the COVID pandemic at a total cost $750,000.
The laptops which have already been distributed throughout the schools in SD 8 will remain. This will improve access and support to student learning and facilitate better growth in the schools, the district said.
“The priority of this budget was to ensure that reductions were done outside of the classroom,” Smillie said.
The total budget for the 2022/23 school year is estimated at $71 million with $59 million going to salaries, benefits and services. The outstanding balance is directed to support assets, capital funds and reserves for future needs.