Increase in enrolment and the new Classroom Enhancement Fund from the province resulted in two major changes to the Foothills School Division budget.

The board had a look at the Fall 2017 Budget Update at the last school board meeting.

Assistant Superintendent of Corporate Services Drew Chipman says those changes resulted in almost one and a half million dollars being added to the budget.

"The biggest change is the increase in enrolment that we received at the start of the year up to our September 30th cutoff date," said Chipman.

"The other one is the classroom enhancement fund that the province put forward in the Spring. We hadn't actually put it in the budget yet because we didn't know where those dollars were going. Those dollars were added in and it was $971,000."

The total variance on the budget was $1,484,398.

Chipman added the school division is in good shape partly because they are running a deficit that they are covering with an operating reserve surplus.

"That has enabled us to put 1.7 million dollars above and beyond the revenue for this year into the system. That is the good news, the bad news is at some point we have to be able to start balancing those budgets, so there will be a time where we will have to shrink a little bit. But we are able to add dollars into the budget to make sure the kids are getting the best education they can get. So we are pretty happy with how this is the way things are going."

And they have had several years of reasonable growth, which following the out-of-control growth that happened 10 years ago, has helped the division to plan for the future.

"Once Okotoks gets their water issue resolved and the economy comes back, we certainly anticipate levels of higher, but for the last two or three years the growth has been slow and steady. Which has been great it has allowed us to plan appropriately."

The division is excited about the new Okotoks School will open in the fall of 2019 in north Okotoks and the capital plan calls for more schools moving forward.


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