Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find all the budget information that is being considered?
Why have you issued a second version of the preliminary draft budget?
Following public input heard to date and to provide clarity on questions asked at the Committee-of-the-Whole meeting on April 18, 2018, staff have recommended some revisions to the budget proposals and added new proposals.
What public consultation have you done for this budget?
The VSB is consulting with its stakeholders and the public about the budget as in every year. Meetings were held with individual stakeholder groups, at public committee meetings, public meetings of the Committee-of-the-Whole where public input can be heard, and public board meetings dealing with the budget.
In addition, an online survey was open for two weeks to gather broad feedback on the draft preliminary budget. Using an online survey allows the greatest number of people to participate and provide their input. It is also more accessible to a broader range of people. A total of 836 people completed the survey. A report on the survey input will be presented to the May 16 Committee-of-the-Whole.
The public also has the opportunity to submit feedback via email to Budget2018email@example.com.
In addition, another Committee-of-the-Whole will take place on May 16, during which people can provide their input to Trustees. Stakeholders and members of the public who wish to present at this meeting must register via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon Monday, May 14, 2018. Written submissions regarding the 2018-2019 Budget may be forwarded to this email address or by mail to the Administrative Coordinator, Secretary Treasurer's Office, 1580 West 1580 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6J 5K8.
Please note: All submissions to the Board are considered to be public documents. The Board, therefore, reserves the right to make any submissions available to the public and to post on the website.
Trustees will be able to review all the submitted feedback before making final decisions about the budget.
What is different in the second version of the draft budget compared to the first version?
As shown on Page 3 of the 2018/2019 Operating Fund Budget Preliminary Draft Document Version 2 the net expense (deficit) amount of $2,348,396 that was included in Version 1 has been reduced to $187,990 in Version 2. This reduction in the net expense (deficit) amount resulted from the following:
- A review of accounts by staff produced budget savings totalling $1,119,820 in either additional revenue or cost reductions;
- A review of budget assumptions resulted in costs of $309,840 that were added to the budget;
- Some budget proposals that had been incorporated in Version 1 in the amount of $1,350,426 were removed in Version 2 and are now to be considered by the Board with the other budget proposals.
How did you decide which items to revise for this second version of the budget compared to the first budget presented last month?
Items for consideration were suggestions from representatives during individual stakeholder group meetings and management recommendations for the Board. Because school districts must submit a balanced budget, funding for proposals would be required from elsewhere within the proposed draft budget.
You’ve added new proposals to the second budget version. Does that mean you’re now going to have a deficit?
The following new proposals were added in Version 2:
- Adult Education instructional Assistants at a cost of $79,136;
- Casual Summer Grounds Staff at a cost of $167,104;
- Planning for In-House Training for Educational Assistants at a cost of $100,000; and,
- A Student Forum in 2018-2019 at a cost of 25,000.
These additional budget proposals, combined with the previous ones, total $3,211,608. Of this total, management recommends up to $2,387,919 be included in the budget. As per page 5 of the Preliminary Draft Budget Version 2 document including the total of this amount in the budget would produce a deficit of $2,575,909. The district does have an Unrestricted Surplus of $2,457,909 from the 2016-2017 fiscal year that would be appropriated to fund this deficit.
Version 2 of the budget appears to be balanced through an appropriation of a prior year surplus. What does an appropriation of a prior year’s unrestricted surplus mean?
At the end of any fiscal year a school district may have not spent all the funding that was received or generated in that year for many reasons. This unspent funding is called a surplus. Some of the surplus may have to be restricted to spend in the following year for specific reasons – such as the Student Learning Grant that was received late in the 2016-2017 school year. The surplus that remains after restricted amounts have been identified is called an unrestricted surplus, which can be used in a future year to help balance that future year’s budget. This is done by appropriating the unrestricted surplus to that fiscal year, which is then used in operations.
There seemed to be some confusion this year in the budget process over the use of surpluses to fund a future year’s budget. Has the district used surpluses in the past to fund a future year’s budget?
As per the district’s audited financial statements for the last six years the Vancouver School Board identified the following current year’s surplus and previous year’s surplus amounts to be transferred to the following year:
| || |
Current Year Transferred to Next year
|Previous Year Transferred to Next Year|
|June 30, 2012 (School Year 2011-2012) ||$7,876,516 || |
|June 30, 2013 (School Year 2012-2013) ||$9,292,174 || |
|June 30, 2014 (School Year 2013-2014) ||$11,110,322 ||$703,284|
|June 30, 2015 (School Year 2014-2015) ||$8,021,731 ||$5,813,151|
|June 30, 2016 (School Year 2015-2016) ||$7,936,312 ||$734,061|
|June 30, 2017 (School Year 2016-2017) ||0 ||0|
Isn’t an unrestricted surplus just one-time money? How can one-time money be incorporated into an ongoing budget?
An unrestricted surplus is what was left over in a previous year and can only be spent once. Being one-time money, it can support spending for one-time items such as equipment replacements. It is not sustainable to spend one-time money to support ongoing expenses. Using a prior year’s unrestricted surplus to fund operations next year will put pressure on budget years after 2018-2019.
In the budget proposals in Version 2 what are the one-time costs and which are ongoing?
The following budget proposals in Version 2 totalling $530,898 are one-time costs:
- Heavy Equipment portion of the Fleet Replacement Program with a cost of $355,898;
- StarGarden Archival Project with a cost of $150,000; and,
- District Student Forum with a cost of $25,000.
The remaining budget proposals totalling $2,680,710 represent ongoing costs.
Why wasn’t the 2016-17 surplus used in this current school year instead of being applied to next year’s budget?
The 2017-18 Amended Budget was a balanced budget without any need for using the 2016-17 surplus.
Are you still proposing to cut non-enrolling staff?
There was never a proposal to cut non-enrolling staff. The only change in non-enrolling teacher staffing is operational in nature due to the projected student enrollment decline of approximately 600 students for next year. That change has resulted in a decrease in non-enrolling teacher staffing of 8.43 teachers.
Are there other staff reductions that are not noted?
There are no staff reductions contemplated in the budget proposals in Version 2 of the draft budget and several of the proposals call for increased staffing. Other than the non-enrolling teacher reduction referred to above, there is a reduction of approximately 31 enrolling teachers which is directly driven by projected student enrolment decline.
The budget proposes $3.5 million in capital expenditures for 2017-2018. How was this amount arrived at?
The capital expenditures are for capital leases which supports office equipment and expenses of a capital nature needed at the schools, such as :
- $2.5M Capital Leases – school and administration servers, teacher laptop, employee computers
- $0.30M hardware for Resource Teachers – schools only
- $0.40M Photocopiers, phone system, and other Purchasing– school and administration
- $0.30M Other IT/Operations/Learning Service equipment – school and administration
There were requests from some of the stakeholders for budget proposals to increase maintenance work in the schools. Why has that not been considered in Version 2?
In addition to the ongoing maintenance work by our district staff that is already incorporated in the budget, the district relies on funding from the Ministry of Education in the form of an Annual Facilities Grant. For the next school year that grant will increase which will allow staff to consider more maintenance work. In addition, the district submits requests in the annual Five-Year Capital submission for School Enhancement Project funding.
What has been the financial impact of not bringing in Teachers Teaching On Call (TTOCs) and Special Education Assistants (SEAs) to cover for illness? Is that projected to continue?
The expenditures for TTOCs and SEAs are less than budgeted in 2017-2018 due to recruitment challenges. Recruiting efforts are ongoing and we have provided for the full complement of these positions in the draft budget for 2018/2019.
Will there be another version of the budget produced?
Version 2, along with management’s recommendations for proposals, was presented on May 2 for the Board’s consideration. Version 3 will be produced at the Board’s direction, after input on Version 2 at the May 16, 2018 Committee-of-the-Whole meeting.
When will the Board vote on the final budget?
The Budget will go through first and second reading at the Monday, May 28, 2018 Board Meeting with final adoption at the Monday, June 25, 2018 Board Meeting.
What is a Needs Budget? Will the District prepare one?
A ‘Needs’ Budget is a hypothetical estimate of what the District needs in budget funds, in order to fulfill all of the objectives in its Strategic Plan.
During the Plenary Committee III/V on May 2, there was a motion brought forward to prepare a Needs budget. The Board will vote on that motion, and if that motion passes, a Terms of Reference will be developed for future preparation of a Needs Budget.
Is there any additional funding for schools to purchase materials and resources?
Yes there is a proposed 5% increase in funding for school based budgets.
Does this budget propose reducing counselling time?
No. And, there is a proposed increase to school flex budgets, which provides for many of the learning services students told us they care about most. Although, because of declining enrolment, there will be fewer staff, the District’s draft budget does not outline a reduction to those areas (i.e. counselling time). Those are school based decisions based on staffing allocations.