Information with respect to the 2022/23 Operating Budget
For those of you who have a desire to understand a bit more about the Pembina Trails School Division Budget for 2022/23, I thought that I might provide a little bit more in depth information. I know that I risk getting into too much detail but will try to focus on some basic information.
The Budget is broken down into several “Funds” which are groupings of expenditures. For the Budget, there are two Funds: Operating and Capital.
The Capital Fund reflects the costs associated with long lived assets which provide service to the school division over many years. Things like the construction of or major renovations to schools or other buildings, acquisition of land, purchase of vehicles such as school buses or other major equipment. Revenue or funding received relating to Capital Assets are reflected in the Capital Fund. The majority of the funding for the Capital Fund comes from the Province or transfers from the Division’s Operating Fund to support Capital Fund expenditures.
The Operating Fund is where the Board of Trustees spends most of its time and reflects what actually goes on in the schools in terms of educational and support activities of both an educational and non-educational nature. The Operating Fund includes all expenditures for all staffing, services and supplies, minor equipment, funding of new initiatives, transportation services, cleaning, maintenance and non-capital renovations and improvements of buildings, information technology, finance and business administration, management and governance. The Operating Fund is broken down into “Functions” which are large groupings of activities and the Functions are broken down into “Programs” which are smaller and more focussed groupings of activities. The Board, working with the Senior Administration, determines how much of the Operating Budget will be directed to the various activities.
There are several sources of information about the Division’s Operating Budget for the next Fiscal Year, 2022/23:
-Pembina Trails School Division website – full 2022/23 FRAME Budget, (This is the full FRAME Budget which is submitted to the Province);
-Pembina Trails School Division website – Approved Budget 2022/23 At A Glance, (This is a very brief summary for the average taxpayer to review);
-Manitoba.ca, Education and Early Learning, K-12, Finance and Statistics - Provincial FRAME Reports (Budget), Financial Reporting and Accounting in Manitoba and Early Childhood Learning Reports. These reports provide comparative budget and statistical information among Manitoba school divisions, (Much of the comparisons are reflected as costs per pupil. The most recent year reflected in these reports is for 2021/22.)
The total Operating Fund expenditures budgeted for the 2022/23 Fiscal Year (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023) is $194,656,240. These expenditures are directed to the following areas:
· Regular Instruction, Student Support Services and Instructional and Pupil Support
These functions include all of the regular school teaching activities, school based administration, education of students with additional needs, counselling, guidance, curriculum development, teacher professional development, libraries and other related activities receives 82.3% of the Operating Fund expenditures.
· Maintenance, cleaning and non-capital renovations of schools and grounds upkeep receives 10.8% of the Operating Fund expenditures.
· Community Education, Divisional Administration, Transportation Services and Fiscal receives 6.9% of the Operating Fund Expenditures.
The 2022/23 Operating Fund Budget increased by $11,767,161 or 6.4% over the prior year’s Budget. These expenditure increases are summarized as follows:
· The staff increased by 23.6 Full Time Equivalent staff (8.6 teachers, 6 educational assistants, 9 in various categories of non-teaching) as well as for additional substitute teacher days, casual hours for non-teaching staff, etc. This represents 0.9% of the 6.4% increase.
· The cost of employing staff increased due to changes in staff mix, compensation rate estimates, step increments, maternity and parental leave, employee benefits costs and changes in the number of paid days during the school year. This represents 5.1% of the 6.4% increase.
· All operating costs which are not related to salary or benefits increased for various reasons across all areas of activity. This represents 0.4% of the 6.4% increase.
For the 2023/24 Budget, Pembina Trails will be faced with further expenditure challenges due, in part due to continued growth in enrolment and the opening of more schools, the Bison Run Elementary School and Pembina Trails Collegiate, in 2023.
Education Property Taxes and Funding
During this campaign, there have been some questions or comments regarding educational property taxes and funding to school divisions.
Until recently, school divisions in Manitoba had the authority to determine the amount of educational property tax which would be raised from property located within their respective school divisions. Where Trustees saw the needs of their school division requiring greater funding than was previously received in the prior year, Boards of Trustees could increase the amount of property tax which was raised to meet the needs of the next year due to general price level increases, collective agreement obligations, new schools, programs and initiatives and enrolment growth. Manitoba has been the last province to allow school divisions the unfettered authority to increase or decrease school taxes. Many saw this as a form of inequity among school divisions as he school divisions have not all had the same strength of a tax base to raise property taxes. We have been fortunate in Pembina Trails to have had a robust and growing tax base which has allowed the Boards over the years to raise additional funds while imposing a moderate increase in the tax burden on the taxpayers.
The Province has removed, within the last year or so, from the school divisions, the right to raise additional funding through tax increases, upon which school divisions have relied to meet their growing expenses. Nearly all of the funding which school divisions will receive going forward will be determined by the Province based on the new funding model which will be disclosed, I expect, near late January.
So those who have asked if Pembina Trails will be raising the property taxes next year, the answer would have to be “no” as Pembina Trails is not empowered nor authorized to raise or lower the property taxes. Any change in the total property taxes for education raised is the decision of the Provincial government. The Province has reported that it wants to phase out the education tax on property and that is why it has sent cheques to taxpayers in each June of the last couple of years, in order to offset a gradually increasing percentage of the education property tax raised.
Implications for the Board of Trustees
The role of the Board of Trustees evolves somewhat as a result of this change regarding property taxes. The Pembina Trails Board of Trustees will have to shift from increasing its revenue to focussing more on controlling its costs and exercising its collective judgment as to how the available funding is to be used to maximize the educational benefit to all of our students through educational programming and services as well as to fund the needed supporting functions of transportation, facilities and maintenance, finance and business operations, information technology, etc. Decisions regarding the allocation of resources are among the most important decisions which elected Trustees have to make on an annual basis.