School divisions across the province have been hit hard this year with inflationary costs such as fuel and insurance.
Last week, the province divvied up $20 million to all the school divisions to help offset the rising costs of fuel and insurance. Here in Moose Jaw the Prairie South School Division is scheduled to receive around $1.05 million.
“The money will be allocated to offset fuel and transportation costs for the school division and the money has to be spent on those costs, which is appropriate because we budgeted for an additional million dollars for the 2022-23 school year,” says PSSD Director of Education, Ryan Boughen.
“It’s fantastic. School divisions have taken some time reaching out to the Ministry and sharing our concerns with increased operational costs and fuel is one of them, it’s fantastic that the government has heard us and has responded and has provided us some funding. It’s great news,” adds Boughen.
Boughen added that as of the end of June, which is the end of their third quarter, $1 million more was spent than what was budgeted to operate the school division. Final fuel and transportation cost numbers won’t be available until the end of August.
In a typical year, the school division has a fleet of around 120 buses. Boughen noted that they try to replace the fleet every 10 years – replacing 12 buses a year. With rising inflationary costs buses are becoming more and more expensive.
“The cost of a school bus has gone crazy. We bought 12 school buses last year. This year we may only buy 10 because school buses have gone up by $50,000-$60,000 and they’re an expensive thing to buy.”
Inflationary costs have also forced the PSSD to dip into their surplus funds in the amount of $4 million to help with the operating costs for the 2022-23 school year. The $4 million was the deficit seen in the upcoming school year's budget deliberations back on May 4. It was approved on that night to pass the budget and use their reserve funds to make up the rest.
“As things go up and you spend more money on other things. If you want to protect the classroom, which is a priority for the board and the school division. When you pay more for fuel and you pay more to buy a school bus, you need to access other funds to make sure you provide the supports we need to provide.”
The Holy Trinity Catholic School Division in Moose Jaw also is scheduled to receive some much-needed funds in the amount of $176,600. Discover Moose Jaw tried to reach out prior to publishing and has yet to hear a response.
The Ministry of Education announced education spending of $2.88 billion in the 2022-23 budget earlier this year, with $1.99 billion in school operating funding for the school year.
The new funding pushes the total school operating funds above $2 billion, which is a new record expenditure for the province.