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Coquitlam School District looking for money-saving ideas

COQUITLAM (NEWS1130) – Some local parents are being asked for ideas on how to save money as the Coquitlam School District grapples with a $13.4 million deficit for the next school year.

School District 43 says some programs could be affected, but it won’t go into detail. Instead, it is warning parents that money will be tight starting this September.

Last year, the deficit was $8 million and Mark Ferrari with School District 43 says one of the reasons for the uptick is inflation. “Right now we are the fourth lowest funded school district in the province — we are within $5 of being the lowest funded school district in the province.”

He says staff within the district continue to lobby for help and they are in ongoing talks with the Ministry of Education.

In January, an audit of the district made 14 recommendations including responsible spending and a rainy day fund which, he says, they are implementing.

“This contingency fund is $900,000, that’s not probably enough contingency knowing all the other cost pressures we’re facing this year but we couldn’t find any other way to make it bigger,” Ferrari adds.

He says over the coming months they will work diligently to find any extra funds. “I think we have to leave no stone unturned. We have to look at everything from salary costs to transportation to cafeterias — frankly, all aspects of our organization need to be scrutinized in order to define the cost cuts necessary to meet the deficit.”

Last night, an information session was open to parents. It was one of several that will take place over the coming weeks.