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Financial projections show Prairie South could have year-end deficit of nearly $1M

Division administration presented a third-quarter financial update during the recent June board meeting, along with a forecast for the rest of the school year until Aug. 31. 
Prairie South new sign USE
Prairie South School Division. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

Prairie South School Division has accumulated over $1 million in unpaid salaries because of teachers’ job action activities, but the province will claw back that funding once the contract situation is settled.

Division administration presented a third-quarter financial update during the recent June board meeting, along with a forecast for the rest of the school year until Aug. 31. 

As of May 31, the school division had $77.8 million in revenues, $79.5 million in expenses and a deficit of $1.7 million, a board report said. After including $8.7 million in capital expenses for the joint-use school project, that left the division with a deficit of $10.4 million. 

However, financial projections show revenues could finish at $110.6 million, expenses could conclude at $95.1 million, leaving a surplus of $15.5 million. When $16.4 million is included in capital project expenses, that turns the projected surplus into a projected deficit of $910,154 by Aug. 31. 


The good news with this budget is it’s only off by roughly $100,000, which is great considering budgeted expenses are $95 million, said Ron Purdy, superintendent of finance.

The province increased Prairie South’s funding by $1.2 million in December to account for increased enrolment, while the division saved $1,080,000 with unpaid salaries because of teachers’ job action events, he continued. 

However, when the province and the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation reach a new agreement, the Ministry of Education will take that latter funding since the division did not spend it as expected.

Meanwhile, tuition revenues and related fees are roughly $100,000 over budget due to several programs related to international students, and complementary services revenues have increased by more than $100,000 due to donations for nutrition programs.

Furthermore, external services revenue is up by nearly $1 million due to increased enrolment, a multi-division professional development event, associate schools’ fees and increased concession sales. 

Also, other revenue is up by $417,000 due to increased rental, miscellaneous fees and investment income.

Overall, Prairie South’s revenues are projected to be $2.5 million over budget, added Purdy. 


Instructional expenses are under budget by nearly $2 million, mostly due to the reduction in salaries from the teachers’ strike days, although the division would have been somewhat over budget in this area without those days, Purdy said. The division is also slightly under budget with support staff wages and decentralized budgets. 

Physical plant expenses are under budget by roughly $100,000 for wages and over budget on building operating expenses by roughly $50,000, he continued.

The one category Purdy thought would be over budget was heating fuel expenses, but those costs were under budget because of the mild winter. However, he pointed out that Prairie South still paid roughly $500,000 in carbon taxes.

Furthermore, transportation costs are slightly over budget on wages and building operating costs but under budget on fuel, which provides some savings in this category. 

“We use 1.1 million litres of fuel a year, so every penny that fuel goes up is $10,000 for us. So when that went up 10 cents (recently), that was $100,000 out of our budget,” said Purdy.

Overall, the division’s expenses are projected to be $699,123 less than expected.

Prairie South is projected to have $608,366 in surplus cash by its fiscal year-end, but the teachers’ strike pay must be removed from that equation, which will happen when teachers’ contracts are settled, Purdy pointed out.

“So we’re in a good spot. Our expenses are really good (and) we have extra revenue … ,” he added.

The next PSSD board meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 3.

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