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SE Cornerstone finances updated at halfway mark through year

Marilyn Yurkiw, manager of finance and payroll for the South East Cornerstone School Division, brought the updated financial picture to the division’s board members.
South East Cornerstone head office
South East Cornerstone's board heard an update on the finances for the school division at the halfway point to the school year.

WEYBURN – It’s the half-way point in the school year and Marilyn Yurkiw, manager of finance and payroll for the South East Cornerstone Public School Division, brought the updated financial picture to the division’s board members on March 27 during their open business session.

The trustees were meeting in Weyburn that day and were given the financial details as Yurkiw outlined the variances, both positive and negative, to the ongoing financial reportage requirements.

On the revenue side, Yurkiw reported that with the adjustment being made for enrolment changes, the provincial grant in that area increased by just under $170,000.

Likewise, tuition and related fees gained are also destined to be above the budgeted figure by just over $107,000.

Other potential revenue sources such as school-generated funds, complementary and external services, such as cafeterias and teacherages, are noted but have not been changed to date.

Other revenue such as user fees and reimbursements, interest and royalties are currently on track she said and that includes interest revenue over budget by about $400,000 and a further $77,000 from the Microsoft class action process and sale of capital assets of $41,000 above budget.

On the expense side Yurkiw noted that governance expenses are projected to be about $11,600 over budget while administration costs will be under by about $3,400.

With regards to the biggest item on the financial ledger, instruction costs, which take up about 65 per cent of the budget, are expected to be $364,000 over budget. Instructional aides costs could be about $597,000 over budget while educational assistant salaries are expected to be below budget by approximately $235,000.

Plant operations are anticipated to be about $83,000 below budget and transportation costs will be lower than budget by $688,000, mainly due to fewer bus routes and fewer drivers. Allowances paid in lieu of division provided transportation will be about $178,000 due to those missing drivers and buses.

The finance manager added that as of the end of February, about 43 per cent of the funds budgeted for asset additions have been spent.

In total, the projection included variances in all revenue areas that indicated an increase in revenue of about $796,500 and the net adjustment to expenses being about $295,400 below budget.

In the overall statement of operations, Cornerstone is slated to operate within a budget of just over $114 million with an anticipated deficit of $1.2 million. This compares with the previous year’s budget deficit of slightly more than $3.2 million.

During opening round table remarks, Education Director Keith Keating noted that a multi-year funding policy for school divisions that appeared in this year’s provincial budget is appreciated since it will assist greatly in preparation of annual division budgets.

“I hope this is the kind of budget we’ll see on a regular basis,” he said.

On the topic of the on-going disruptions to regular school procedures due to strike actions and walk outs by Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation personnel regarding their dispute with the provincial government’s stand on classroom size and complexities, he said the main interest was to get the two sides back to the negotiating table so the bargaining process can be completed.

Three accounting firms bid for the contract to supply services to Cornerstone with the Virtus Group, the division’s current accounting and auditing firm, winning the bid. Virtus will provide the services for another three-year term with a two-year option in place at the end of the third year.