School District No. 54 - Bulkley Valley (SD54) in Smithers. (File photo)

SD54 budget to be voted on during June board meeting

SD54 board members will vote on the district’s 2019-2020 budget at their June board meeting.

SD54 board members will vote on the district’s 2019-2020 budget at their June board meeting.

At their May 21 meeting, board members from School District No. 54 – Bulkley Valley (SD54) received a presentation on next year’s proposed budget from secretary treasurer Dave Margerm.

“The Board received the budget presentation last night [and] will vote … at [their] June meeting to allow time for public consideration and input,” Margerm said.

While the budget is similar to those of past years, Margerm said that one of the main differences in the 2019-2020 budget is the amount of money allocated to students with special education needs and for funding towards Indigenous students.

“The ministry has increased the funding to special targeted funds,” explains Margerm.

Funding per individual Indigenous student has increased by just under 18 per cent, from $1,230

to $1,450 while funding for students with Level 1, 2 and 3 unique needs has increased in varying amounts, from just over 4 per cent to just under 10 per cent.

In total, unique student needs funding would increase by just under $360,000.

Despite a projected decrease in overall enrolment from 1967 to 1936, budgeted revenue for the year would increase by 1 per cent to a little over $22.5 million.

Also discussed at the meeting was the application of Rural Leaf, a proposed cannabis dispensary that has applied for provincial approval to open up shop in Smithers.

“The Town of Smithers asked [The Board] for stakeholder input on the Rural Leaf as part of the Town application process,” said Margerm.

“The Board discussed the application provided and responded with no concerns from a point of view of a business application.”

If approved by the province, Rural Leaf still must apply to the Town before getting the green light to open up shop.

Board members will cast their votes on the budget at their next board meeting, scheduled for June 18.

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