Public schools spent a lot less than expected last year

·2 min read

The Medicine Hat Public School Division held its monthly board meeting Tuesday night and went over the last year of finances, reporting a better outcome than had been expected.

The board kicked things off with superintendent Mark Davidson talking a bit about Remembrance Day ceremonies in public schools and the work that went into making them happen this year.

He also acknowledged a donation from Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. That was given to the public board to help struggling families afford Chromebooks. The donation was for $2,500.

“We’re very appreciative of that and I know the board is as well,” said Davidson.

The financial presentation was given by treasurer Leanne Dulle and she started by noting that the board was given a clean audit Tuesday. The financial information she went over was from last August to this August.

“Everything is what it should have been in the audit,” she said.

Within the last year, the public school board had budgeted to go into a $2.35-million deficit

“We were in a healthy reserve position and were quite far into a school year, so it would have had a lot of negative impacts on the year to shuffle things then,” said Dulle. “Then COVID came along and our funding was further reduced and our spending kind of went all out of whack – and it was hard to predict what that was going to look like.

“We thought we were going to have that $2.35-million deficit but we had a $67,500 deficit.

“We’re still in the deficit but nowhere near what we thought we’d have.”

The public school board spent $1.57 million less than it had budgeted for wages and benefits this past year.

The board also spent nearly $2 million less than it had budgeted for services and supplies.

Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News