Catholic Board Projecting Balanced Budget for Upcoming School Year

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The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board (WECDSB) is projecting a balanced budget for the upcoming school year despite a $2.3-million deficit.

According to Board Chair, Fulvio Valentinis, the extra costs will be funded from the board's accumulated surplus which currently sits at nearly $21-million.

Valentinis says the board had to dip into reserves last year as well as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a long list of unforeseen costs.

"We're sort of hopeful that going forward that there won't be any major surprises, and if so, that the ministry will still look at any additional costing to deal with the COVID-19 after effects," he says.

According to Valentinis, the finance department has has its hands full these past couple years.

"It's challenging because your sources of funding are not always predictable," he says. "With educational funding, there are so many different grants, so many different hats. Some are dependent on enrolment, some are dependent on COVID expenditures. So it's kind of a changing landscape in that sense because some of this is new."

The budget is nothing flashy, but gets the job done, Valentinis adds. "We're glad that it's a proposed balanced budget. We're able to meet our needs so that we have about $273-million in the operating budget. So I think it leaves us in a good position that way."

Due to the pandemic, the Ministry of Education is allowing boards to use up to two per cent of reserves as opposed to the traditional one per cent.

The Catholic board's 2021-2022 draft operating budget came in at $273.2-million. The document is available online for public input until June 15 when it will presented to trustees for final approval.