Holy Trinity Catholic School Division (HTCSD) is set to finalize their 2024/25 budget at the June 17 board meeting.  

Curt Van Parys, CFO with HTCSD, said compared to the current year’s budget of just over $45 million, the preliminary operating and capital budget expenditures for 2024/25 are projected to be over $50 million, which he believes to be a record high for the division.  

Van Parys said that the projected budget includes $30.5 million in operations, and $20 million in capital. “We’ve got two major capital projects that are going to impact the budget for the upcoming year. That being the joint use school project – Our Lady of Hope, and our minor capital project at the only single-track French immersion elementary school in Moose Jaw, that being Ecole St Margaret.”  

Enrollments are the main determinant of funding, as projected enrolment numbers dictate how funding is allocated by the province. “We are guided by that to a very large extent when the provincial budget comes out, they inform all school divisions in terms of what their funding is for 24-25.” 

“We use that in terms of putting together our budgets. The budget will be adjusted based on actual enrollments.” 

Around 80 per cent of the upcoming budget is to go towards staffing costs according to Van Parys. “This year’s budget is largely influenced by the provincial collective bargaining agreement with the STF. That’s kind of been an up and down and a bit of a roller coaster in terms of that.” 

He added that they based the projected salary costs on the most recent agreement put before STF membership. That agreement was rejected by 55 per cent of eligible voters at the end of May, with the teachers and province returning to the bargaining table this week.  

“Hopefully through that process or another process, we will come to an agreement at some point, but our budget is based on the most recent items that were before the STF in terms of salaries and other adjustments.” 

The rejected offer proposed a 3 per cent salary increase for both 2023-24 and 2024-25, and a 2 per cent increase for 2025-26. 

Van Parys pointed to operating funding received for salary adjustments for non-teaching staff as a “pleasant surprise”. 

“School divisions in the province have not experienced that for well over a decade.” 

He also pointed to the influence of strategic priorities for the board on the budget, with the board looking to revise their strategic plan in the upcoming year. “We want to make sure that we accommodate those elements within the budget as well.” 

“There’s a new high school curriculum that’s coming out as well, so there’ll be some new course offerings for our students that we’ve made some budgetary provisions for.” 

He added that the cost of the carbon tax increase has also been considered for the budget.  

“We’re by no means flush in terms of funding, but it appears that we’ll be able to accommodate what we are required to do, in terms of meeting salary obligations, etcetera.”