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Victoria school board faces potential budget shortfall

Staring at a potential budget shortfall for the 2011-12 school year, the Greater Victoria school board held its first in a series of round table meetings to discuss district priorities.

"At the moment, we're looking at the possibility of a $500,000 deficit for the coming year and that might result in some cuts to services," School District 61 board chair Tom Ferris said last week.

Three parents and one other member of the public attended the Feb. 2 open meeting. The small group emphasized the need for more in-class student supports, Ferris said.

"We're making a forecast based on what we know today, but that could easily change."

He later added that the "the things that we worry about are the things that we don't know about," as in any potential provincially-mandated changes to the Harmonized Sales Tax to come down after the budget is approved in April.

Ferris was reluctant to comment on what services would likely be affected, given that the shortfall is yet to be confirmed.

The budget bylaw to be approved and signed-off by the board in April is based on forecasted enrollment and is subject to change once each school reports registration totals by the Sept. 30 deadline.

Sidebar: Join the budget consultation

Timeline and action

Feb. 15 – Detailed district-wide funding announcement from the Ministry of Education; 2011-12 district financial position determined

March 30 – Public board budget meeting; Public board budget presentation

March 31 - April 6 – planning committees and partner groups review and provide feedback to the board for budget proposals

April 6 – Budget meeting to receive public input; public input received

April 11 – Board meeting to debate and approve the annual budget; approval of the 2011-12 annual budget bylaw

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