No drastic cuts required in 2014-15 school district budget
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.''