The provincial budget that was announced last week aligns with the Prairie South School Division’s priorities, according to its director of education. 

Ryan Boughen said the board’s priority has been support for classrooms. The provincial budget includes $356 million for classroom supports including funding to address class size and complexity. 

“Prior to receiving the budget and the increases we received in the budget, we were going to be faced with some challenges around how much surplus we would need to access to support that classrooms to the rate which the board wanted to support them. So, this certainly puts us in a much better position,” said Boughen. 

He added that he and Chief Financial Officer Ron Purdy has had a couple of discussions since the budget was announced and, as of Friday, they were still going over the numbers. 

“There’s a lot of layers to it, so there’s still some learning for us to do, and in fairness to our board, we’ll be working with them on Tuesday to get a little deeper into that budget and then to make sure that we’re going to be aligned with the direction they provided us with that budget,” he said. 

The Prairie South School Division tends to start their budget process early in January and work out the numbers throughout the year. 

At the next board meeting, they will go through the provincial budget and school division budgets talks will continue into April.  

“What we’ll do with them on Tuesday is we’ll just reaffirm direction and have some conversations about the work we’ve done. Then we’ll do a deep dive with them into the budget so they get a clear understanding of the revenue we’ve received and then make sure that we’re aligning still with where they want to be,” said Boughen. 

Boughen says the school division usually finalizes their budget for approval from the Ministry of Education in May or June. 

He said, even with the increased funding for classroom supports, the school division is still looking at a deficit and will need to dip into surplus funds. 

“If we continue to do what we think the board will want us to do, we’ll still have to access a little bit of surplus funds to provide those supports to the classroom. But that’s OK, we only have some surplus funds to access and we’ll continue to work with the board on making sure we deliver on the actions that they want us to take in terms of delivering that budget,” said Boughen. 

The provincial budget also included $165.9 million for ongoing new school projects including the joint-use school being built on South Hill.