Tougher times ahead
Catholic board hit with $250,000 budget shortfall

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 26/97) - The Catholic school board is feeling the effects of rising operating costs following a significant shortfall in the past year's budget.

"We are $250,000 out of line of what we had originally budgeted for," said Annalise Van Ham, head of finances for the board.

The gap can be attributed to a combination of additional operating costs and a reduction in revenue from capital investments, she said.

Additional costs include:

  • $74,000 for a new Weledeh teacher
  • $19,000 in maintenance costs
  • increased heat and oil costs
  • a $40,000 reduction in revenue from capital investments because of low interest rates.

Even though the difference is nearly $250,000, Van Ham said there is no reason for concern.

"It's not all that unusual because the budget is done so far in advance," she said. "It's just an estimate -- regular variance reporting."

The concern lies in the accumulated surplus, or the long-term savings of the school board.

"The accumulated surplus is being eroded in the last few years," she said.

She predicts that this year's shortfall is an indication of tougher times ahead.

"It's only going to get more difficult to recover from a shrinking accumulated surplus with reductions in funding," she added.