The financial picture for School District 43 is starting to become a little bit clearer as the new school year begins.
Last week the board approved the audited financial statements from the 2012/2013 school year, which left the district with a $10 million deficit. The district had forecast an $8.2 million shortfall, but that grew by $1.8 million because of a change in accounting practices.
Acting secretary treasurer Guy Bonnefoy explained all school districts changed accounting practices to follow what's referred to as the Public Sector Accounting Standards.
The change meant the district had to put a one-time $1.8 million adjustment toward the unfunded liability associated with employee future benefit costs.
With the approval of the audited financial statements, district officials note there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The next step is for the district to work out a debt repayment plan with the Ministry of Education.
The district isn't allowed to run a deficit, but there is a plan to negotiate with the government that could include paying back the money over a four or five-year span.
"It is the start of our recovery," board chair Melissa Hyndes said.
She said with the expertise on board helping SD43, she is confident the district will get it's books back in order.
As for the 2013/2014 school year, the district won't get enrollment numbers until the end of September.
That will indicate the final dollars the district will get for the year, and what staffing requirements are needed.
Last spring it was revealed the district was facing a $12.1 million deficit for the new school year. To balance the budget, the district cut 142 positions. But the situation also led to the board ordering a forensic audit of financial books, which is underway.
© Copyright 2013