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Surplus prompts spending spree for Rainbow board

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Dec 18, 2013 - 4:22 PM |
Rainbow District School Board director of education Norm Blaseg, seen here in this 2012 file photo, said the board's $9 million in reserves have allowed them to enhance student programming. File photo.

Rainbow District School Board director of education Norm Blaseg, seen here in this 2012 file photo, said the board's $9 million in reserves have allowed them to enhance student programming. File photo.

Board $2M in the black for 2012-2013

After the board posted a $2 million operating surplus for the 2012-2013 school year, trustees with the Rainbow District School Board opted Dec. 17 to spend some of the board's accumulated surplus on one-time projects.

The school board has accumulated an operating surplus of a little more than $10 million.

Norm Blaseg, the school board's director of education, said this year's surplus is due to a combination of not spending all of the government grants it received and having higher-than-expected enrolment, which is tied to grants.

“It's extremely good news for us,” he said.

He said the board has earmarked about $5 million of the accumulated surplus to spend on areas such as mental health supports, curriculum implementation, information technology and health and safety in the board's shops.

It's also spending $3 million on modernizing schools to make them more “green,” therefore reducing utility costs. Another $500,000 is being spent to fund retirement gratuities.

“We also retained $1.5 million in accumulated surplus,” Blaseg said. “If we overestimate or underestimate the enrolment, we want to make sure we have a little bit of a cushion.”

It wasn't all good news for the Rainbow board in 2012-2013, however.

Typically, the board fundraises about $4.5 million a year, but in the last school year, it only raised about $3.6 million. Blaseg said the difference is likely due to the labour strife amongst the province's teachers last year.

“That's fairly reflective of the environment we were in last year,” he said.
 
Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer

@heidi_ulrichsen

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