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No drastic cuts required in 2014-15 school district budget

School District 79 secretary-treasurer Bob Harper. - Don Bodger/file
School District 79 secretary-treasurer Bob Harper.
— image credit: Don Bodger/file

The budget process hasn't been anywhere near as painful as last year for School District 79.

Official Trustee Mike McKay gave third and final reading Wednesday to the 2014-15 annual budget bylaw in the amount of $80,099,431.

A year ago, the district was forced to close several schools as a budgetary measure and eventually elected to go with an elementary-secondary school configuration across the valley.

Several districts in the province have been undergoing an exhaustive process this year, requiring massive cuts and/or layoffs to teachers, staff and programs. But Cowichan is in relatively good shape after making the hard decisions for its 2013-14 budget.

"There hasn't been any drastic cuts,'' said SD79 secretary-treasurer Bob Harper. "We have less money than we had last year. We certainly didn't get a free pass.''

Harper indicated there's a bunch of pluses and minuses that go into making a balanced budget. "We needed to be prudent in all the areas we were involved in.

"The priorities we identified last year — literacy and graduation and so on — we kept these as our priorities.''

There's clearly been a bit of a payoff at least for the district to bring everything into line based on declining enrollment and the provincial government funding formula.

"We did a lot of the heavy lifting a year ago,'' said Harper. "It was inevitable we had to do something.''

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