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York Region District School Board approves budget
May 28, 2015
By Chris Traber

Public education may cost you an extra few dollars on your property tax next year.

York Region District School Board’s proposed 2015-16 budget, marginally higher than last year, stands a good chance of being approved June 2, chief financial officer Wanda Muirhead said.

The draft forecast, requesting $1.35 billion for the fiscal year Sept 1 to Aug. 31, is 1.4 per cent higher that last year, she explained.

As such, based on a sample formula on a home valued at $600,000 with an education tax rate of .0203 per cent, a little more than $12 would be added to the annual $1,218 bill, according to Town of Aurora treasurer and corporate and financial services director Dan Elliott.

Each municipality collects its residents’ taxes based on a singular tax rate for education set by Ontario, he said.

Researched and drafted by the budget committee, the public school system proposal will be presented to the full board next Tuesday, said Muirhead who also serves as the board’s business co-ordinating superintendent.

“Budget proposals haven’t been an issue in the past and I hope it won’t be on June 2,” she said.

The spike in this year’s budget is principally based on increased enrolment, she explained. The board has more than 100 per cent enrolment at the secondary school level and is at 91 per cent within the elementary system. The board’s average daily pupil enrolment is 121,076, the budget stated.

“Our funding is based on people,” Muirhead said.

The spreadsheet’s largest percentage increase, a 30.4-per-cent jump, is within non-operating expenses. The $2.5-million budget entry accounts for board staff seconded, or loaned, to other ministries or provincial agencies, said Muirhead. As such, the budget line is “a wash” because source organizations reimburse the board for staff members’ salaries and benefits, she said.

The only other double-digit budget item hike is human resource services at 11.4 per cent. That is valued at $5.5 million and will help cover additional support staff anticipated for next year, she said.

The largest budget item is instructional day school at just less than $855 million, a 1.4-per-cent increase. Benefits weigh in at a value of $142 million and represent a 1-per-cent jump.

Information technology, budgeted at $15.6 million, represents a 5.7-per-cent decrease from last year.

“The budget is everything we expected,” Muirhead said.