SD 23 projecting deficit north of $2M

With many of its schools already overcapacity, the Central Okanagan School District's increasing costs for portables are contributing to a budget deficit of $2.3 million.

Secretary-Treasurer Eileen Sadlowski says on top of the more than 80 already spread throughout the district, they'll need to add nine more portables next year, which aren't covered in the province's operating grant.

She says as far as where the portables go, they've got a couple areas in mind.

"Obviously the Westside is growing very quickly, and the North Glenmore/Glenmore Valley area is growing quite a bit as well. So those would be the two places where we're experiencing the biggest capacity issues," she said.

As well, BC's new employer health tax targets organizations with payrolls of over a half million dollars, and will add $1.9 million onto the school district's books.

Along with that, Sadlowski says the gradual phase-out of MSP means it won't be off the books for awhile yet.

"It's coming off, but it's only coming off for half the year. So next year's a challenge because we'll be paying both of them, because MSP isn't completely out," she said.

"Our estimates are that when MSP is completely gone and the payroll tax is completely implemented, it's going to be an ongoing increase of about $600,000 for our district."

She says the district is proposing to use a surplus from this year's budget to cover $1.1 million of the needed dollars.

She says before the district is forced to make cuts to programming, there are a couple other areas they can hit first.

"This year, we're fortunate we're going to have some surplus from the current year, that we're going to be able to push forward to help finance some of that," she said.

"And then basically we look at, have we got other sources of revenue that are maybe increasing? Like local revenues from our international ed program, or our rental program, those types of things."