The school district is in a solid financial position, despite the fact that it is serving fewer and fewer students, superintendent Mike Woods told school trustees at their monthly meeting last week (Sept. 26).
The board approved audited financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2006, which showed that the district spent $10.5-million but received slightly more, ending the year with a healthy surplus of $793,000.
That surplus is pretty much committed to projects ongoing this year, Mr. Woods said.
Meanwhile, he predicted that student enrollment across the district will be around 720 by the time numbers are tallied later this month. Although that number is 30 students less than last year, it is exactly what senior staff had been expecting.
But looked at over a longer timeline, the loss of students is surprisingly large, he told trustees.
"There's been a dramatic decrease," he said. "We've lost approximately 50 percent of our students in the last seven years, which is pretty substantial."
In other school board news:
o The district's proposed project to include classrooms in a new municipal building in Port Clements has not moved forward, Mr. Woods said. The district is waiting to hear from the Ministry of Education about funding for the classrooms, but the ministry recently cancelled a meeting and hasn't rescheduled.
"We're trying to secure the funding from that source, we're working diligently," he said.
In response to a question from a member of the public, he said it was too early to consider political action such as sending a delegation to Victoria to lobby for the project.
o Norm Wagner, the new president of the Queen Charlotte District Teachers' Association, thanked everyone who works in the school board office. The atmosphere in this district is a real contrast to other districts, where union representatives are fighting bitterly with administration, he said.
"I'm starting to appreciate more and more the management of this district," Mr. Wagner said. "Mike and the people in the board office, they're very cooperativeÂ… We're all here for the students."
o Paul Allen, the new maintenance supervisor, gave a report on various issues, including the aging boiler at Tahayghen elementary. An engineer will be coming to the district later this month to look at the Tahayghen situation and suggest solutions, he said. The schools in Port Clements and Queen Charlotte have also had heating problems, he said.
o The board approved a three-year contract with Sandspit Services to clean A.L. Mathers school, for the amount of $122,854. Sandspit Services was the only bidder on the contract.
o Claudette Lavoie, principal of Port elementary and A.L. Mathers elementary, told trustees that principals are making sure students have access to healthy food. Pop has been banned at both her schools, and the principals have been making sure that there are healthy choices available at sports events.