Ballots are handed out at the GECDSB organization meeting on December 2, 2014 as trustees vote for a new chairperson and vice-chairperson. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

GECDSB Could Run Deficit

The manager of financial services for the Greater Essex County District School Board has announced they will be running over a $1-million deficit by the end of the 2015-16 school year.

According to Shawn Maheux, 78% of the budget has been allocated towards instruction, 11% towards school operations and the remaining 11% put towards miscellaneous needs and transportation.

“We’re looking right now at a projected deficit of about $1.4-million which we’re hoping to address through in year savings leading up to year end,” says Maheaux.

The projected deficit is not a number set in stone but is most likely what they will run into.

Maheux adds the process for the 2016-17 year budget planning is just beginning and more information will be available in the coming months.

“We do have a projected deficit right now,” says Maheux. “A lot of unknowns though at this point. We’re still waiting on the ministry to release their funding model for the 2016-17 year.”

The deficit prediction of the 2016-17 school year is most likely not going to be changed but they are looking at ways to make the number smaller although specific items cannot be determined for the time being.

Some of the points shared in the meeting to reduce the deficit were to thoroughly evaluate where all their money is going, where they should change their expenses and to only purchase what they absolutely need.

Maheux says it’s tough to say what the best case scenario for the budget is at this time.

“Last year is a good example where we projected a deficit and we were able to find some in-year savings to reduce that projected deficit,” says Maheux.

Maheux says it’s increasingly difficult to find the savings because they have to keep trimming the budget but the expenses keep going up.

The ministry will be planning to alter and eliminate some programs that aren’t working for them right now in the next school year. More information will be provided in the coming months.