Abbotsford school district secretary-treasurer Ray Velestuck says a combination of higher revenues from the province and lower-than-expected teacher salary costs helped the district's budget.

Abbotsford school district finances rosier than expected

District left with multi-million-dollar surplus after budgeting for deficit

The Abbotsford school district has turned a projected $2.5 million deficit into a $2.1 million surplus.

The district’s consolidated audited financial statements for the 2016/17 school year show more than $203 million in revenue and $201 million in total expenses. This compares to $196 million the district anticipated receiving and $198 million it planned to spend.

In February 2017, the board amended the budget and projected a smaller $906,000 deficit but not what turned out to be a sizable surplus.

“Either way, it’s a better-than-expected amount,” said secretary treasurer Ray Velestuk.

He said a combination of higher revenues from the province and lower-than-expected teacher salary costs accounted for much of the surplus.

Abbotsford schools received a $991,000 “student learning grant” in April, as part of a $29.4 million one-time funding top-up meant to help schools across B.C. buy supplies.

Despite spending about $1 million more on teacher salary and benefits in 2016/17 than in the previous school year, the district spent much less than it anticipated. Costs were $1.4 million under budget for salaries and $1.7 million under for benefits.

“We don’t underestimate the average salary cost of teachers,” Velestuk said. “So our estimate was maybe a little bit too high.”

The $2.1 million budget brings the Abbotsford school district’s accumulated surplus to $11.8 million, $2.4 million of which is unrestricted and operates as a rainy-day fund, Velestuk said.

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