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North Van school district to balance budget with rainy day fund

SD44 expects to see continued increase in enrolment, driven by immigration
kids raising hands
The North Vancouver school district anticipates increased enrolment next year, driven by immigration.

The North Vancouver School District will dip into its rainy day fund to balance the budget next year, while ensuring there will be no layoffs among teachers or staff.

The North Vancouver board of education passed a $251.5 million preliminary budget Tuesday night, which includes approximately $203 million in projected operating expenses for the 2024/2025 school year, along with a capital budget.

The budget includes a three-per cent salary increase, bringing total salaries and benefits to about $184 million next year – more than 90 per cent of the school district’s operating costs.

Number of support staff will increase

The school district projects its number of staff will go up slightly to 1,885 next year, from 1,866 this year, including teachers, support staff and administrators.

Overall, the number of teachers is slightly down while the number of support staff is up.

Revenues will also be going up as projected enrolment in North Vancouver continues to climb.

Assistant superintendent Arlene Martin said enrolment has been growing by about two per cent a year, and is expected to hit 16,717 next year, primarily driven by immigration.

“We’ve seen and anticipate ongoing immigration to the area,” said Martin.

Immigration, English Language Learner students up

English Language Learner students now make up about 11 per cent of students in the district.

The school district received block funding of $8,915 for each student enrolled in the school district, plus extra money for inclusive education, Indigenous education, English Language Learners and other special circumstances.

The school district also generates revenue from tuition paid by international students, leases and rentals of facilities, and investments.

The school district is anticipating 600 international students next year, who will bring in revenues of about $10 million. It also anticipates $2.8 million in lease revenues plus additional amounts from academy fees and other specialty programs.

The budget anticipates taking $2 million from accumulated surplus to balance increased costs with revenues.

Staff told trustees the budget is conservative, and it’s not likely all of that money will be needed.

Trustee Daniel Anderson said he appreciated the school district having a financial buffer made possible through extra revenue from international students but cautioned that could change with changes to federal government policy on immigration.

A staff report warned it’s possible there won’t be as much surplus to dip into a couple of years from now.