Skip to content

Cornerstone receives annual financial report

Cornerstone dips into surplus fund
South East Cornerstone head office
South East Cornerstone Public School Division building

WEYBURN - The South East Cornerstone Public School Division is digging into a surplus fund to again make ends meet.

That is the bottom line reality for a third consecutive year.

“How I understand it, is that our surplus is down again and we only have about four years at most before we have no money?” asked Estevan trustee Eric McCrimmon, speaking to the South East Cornerstone Public School Division’s chief financial officer, Shelley Toth.

“Only if we realize the budgeted deficit,” she replied, noting later the current budget sees the public school division heading for another deficit of about $4.5 million this fiscal year while the unrestricted surplus funds that stood at $26 million a year ago has now been reduced to $22.2 million.

The annual report is now being sent to the provincial Ministry of Education for approval before it can be made public on an official basis.

But in the interim, Toth provided detailed financial figures and highlighted some key areas of the final report to be scanned by the board members during their Nov. 17 meeting in Weyburn.

On the surface, the 2020-21 fiscal year showed revenues of $115.8 million for Cornerstone and expenses of $111.8 million for a surplus of $4 million.

“The higher than budgeted surplus is largely a result of the impact of COVID-19,” Toth said while presenting her report.

The total on the revenue side was $3.3 million higher than anticipated, mainly due to increases in grants with $2.6 million added for expenses incurred related to COVID last year, and another $1.4 million restricted for the current fiscal year.

School generated funds were down $2.1 million, again a reflection of the impact COVID had on general operations, extra-curricular activities and fundraising at the school level.

On a similar level, external services revenue was also $462,000 under budget due to reductions in cafeteria sales and shared services initiative grants that did not go forward and the anticipated sale of two teacherages estimated at $140,000 that did not sell in the past year.

Total operating expenses were only $205,000 higher than budget but there were several significant variances, Toth told the board.

Governance expense, for example was nearly 28 per cent under budget at $133,000. School community councils spent $68,000 of their $74,000 budget with $40,000 assigned to other governance and $28,000 for instruction and capital equipment.

Administration expenses were $99,000 or about three per cent over budget but these expenses included $68,000 of additional expenses that were covered by grants, she explained.

Instructional expenses were down slightly at $579,000 under budget and included $2.1 million in added expenses that were reimbursed through revenue including $1.5 million in grants for COVID related expenses.

“After adjusting for reimbursed expenses, instructional expenses were $2.4 million under budget as we saw expenses for travel, professional development, athletic programs and substitute salaries reduced due to the impact of COVID-19,” Toth added.

Plant operations and maintenance, however, were $3.4 million over budget with most of that reimbursed through revenue with $1.5 million coming in insurance reimbursements, $906,000 in a COVID grant and the rest for additional preventive maintenance and other expenses paid by the ministry.

Student transportation expenses were $672,000 under budget, as were school generated fund expenses at $1.8 million for the same reason the revenue side of that ledger showed reductions. Complementary services were $68,000 over budget and external services were $182,000 under budget.

The tangible capital assets added $12.9 million, thanks mainly to the purchase of 28 school buses at $3.1 million plus other vehicles, furniture equipment and computer hardware and audio visual equipment.

There was a further $8.1 million for assets under construction, which included $8 million for the Legacy Park Elementary School and $100,000 for the completion of a bus garage. Both of those projects situated in Weyburn are now completed.

But when it came down to the final picture, as noted, $22.2 million remains in the unrestricted accumulated surplus which is a reduction of $3.8 million from the prior year with a further $4.5 million draw down on that surplus now anticipated for the current fiscal year, Toth told the board in response to the question of the available surplus and the time line.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks