Budget cuts hurt West Island school board

Anthony
Anthony Abbondanza
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The Lester B. Pearson School Board is looking for ways to offset a $1 million deficit for the upcoming school year.

The Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) will feel the brunt of a $4 million provincial shortfall, it announced last week after adopting its first-ever deficit budget for the 2014-15 academic year.

The school board approved a $277 million budget, but not without first offsetting the $2.4 million deficit with last year's accumulated surplus.

"We're very disappointed we had to pass our first-ever deficit budget," said Suanne Stein Day, chairman of the LBPSB.

The further deficit of $1 million, added Stein Day, could be offset by the board's alternative revenue streams, such as the international program which is expected to produce $1.6 million this year.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sports (MELS) is forcing the LBPSB to cut roughly $250,000 to its special needs program and $1.8 million directed to educational activities.

Educational activities, such as the annual entrepreneur contest, or simply class room initiatives, may take a hit.

Though Stein Day told the Chronicle she "won't let the students feel the brunt of these cuts."

Total cuts to the 2014-2015 budget, including cumulative, recurring prior year reductions are $11 million.

The school board must also cut its energy budget amid 4.27 per cent hike in electricity costs, announced by Hydro Quebec earlier this summer.

@AAbbondanza1

Organizations: Lester B. Pearson School Board, West Island school board, Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sports Hydro Quebec

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