Catholic board reviews finances Expects to balance budget

The Northwest Catholic District School Board reviewed a preliminary variance report for September, 2003 to August, 2004 at its regular monthly meeting last night.
“These are still preliminary figures,” noted Superintendent of Business Chris Howarth. “I am expecting a balanced budget at the end of the year.”
Howarth said the final audited reports would not be available for a few months due to new guidelines from the Ministry of Education.
“We have to report on public sector reporting guidelines now,” he explained. “We won’t see a final audited statement until January.”
One of the main differences between private and public reporting guidelines is the inclusion of future liabilities. In the past, the board has not reported future liabilities, specifically teacher retirement gratuities.
This year, boards across the province will be required to do so—and, as a result, most will show a deficit this year.
“It will be recovered in future years,” Howarth said.
The new reporting guidelines mean past years will have to be re-calculated according to these standards for the sake of comparison.
“That’s going to result in a delay in getting the work completed,” he noted.
In his preliminary report, Howarth reported a budget surplus of $860,219, or six percent. This is largely due to funding that was received in mid-year, including the distant school allocation, and not spent in its entirety.
The board received $739,000 from the distant school allocation last year. “That had a big impact on the statement,” Howarth said.
While he expects a balanced budget once the final reports are in, Howarth said any surplus likely would be transferred to reserves.
The greatest amount of overspending was in the school operations envelope, which Howarth reported had a deficit of $68,822. This was caused partly by a combination of high staff absenteeism and not having budgeted enough for utility costs.
“There will be adjustments to this figure,” Howarth noted.
“Overall, things ended up pretty much where I thought they would,” he added.
Also at last night’s meeting, the board accepted a report by Dryden trustee John Borst on the recent Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association conference in Thunder Bay.
The board’s next monthly meeting is slated for Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at the board office next to St. Francis School.