School division records surplus of $1.9 million

by Derek Cornet

Finances for the Northwest School Division’s 2012-2013 fiscal year remain in the black.

The NWSD held its annual meeting of electors March 13 during which time revenues of $60.5 million and expenses of $58.6 million were reported, which left the division with a surplus of close to $1.9 million. But, NWSD chief financial officer Charlie McCloud said the surplus requires further explanation because it’s not entirely from the result of operations, adding $316,000 was raised though the proceeds of assets sold in Lloydminster.

“Part of it is due to revenues we receive on capital projects from the ministry,” he said. “In 2012-2013, we received more than $900,000 in capital grants, so our actual surplus pertaining to operations was $668,000.”
Total revenues and expenses were also higher than budgeted. The division earned $3.9 million more than expected while paying out more than $1 million of unbudgeted cash. Overall, the NWSD’s accumulated surplus for the end of the year was pegged at $67 million with $53.4 million tied up in capital assets and $13.5 million in financial assets.

The NWSD also reported having 400 staff members who earned more than $50,000 last fiscal year. Among the 400, 31 earned more than $100,000 including superintendents, supervisors, managers and principals.

NWSD director of education Duane Hauk and chairperson Doug Murray also took the opportunity to report on the highlights of the last year. Hauk said treaty education was a focus for the division. He noted every school has a teacher trained in the subject who is expected to share his or her knowledge with other teachers. Other activities such as a culture camp, which brought together teachers and students last fall, were deemed a success.

Hauk also praised the division’s mentorship program for new teachers, which teams them with veteran teachers and learning coaches to assist them along the way. He noted this method was a more personal way of evaluation.

“We feel we’ve hired the best teachers available and we try to support them in a non-evaluative way,” Hauk said.
In Murray’s presentation, he stated the NWSD is in its final year of a three-year continuous improvement framework. Because of the work of staff and students, Murray said the data shows the division’s initiatives are having an effect on its schools. But, moving forward, he added the division’s goals will begin to better reflect the goals of the Ministry of Education.

“Although there will be difficult decisions to make along the way, we feel maintaining a student focused approach will steer us in the right direction and ensure the best possible education for the students of NWSD,” he said.

Murray also said the board will continue to work within its funding capacity and continue governing in a fiscally responsible manner. He said maintaining a balanced budget and maximizing returns on investment have always been a major focus for the board.

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