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Rainbow board posts $2.4M surplus

Higher-than-expected enrolment at the Rainbow District School Board's schools during the 2011-2012 financial year has led the board to post a $2.4-million operating surplus.
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Rainbow District School Board director of education Norm Blaseg speaks at a school board meeting Dec. 19, where the board's 2011-2012 financial statements were approved by trustees. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.
Higher-than-expected enrolment at the Rainbow District School Board's schools during the 2011-2012 financial year has led the board to post a $2.4-million operating surplus.

There were 121 more students than predicted attending the board's schools, said Norm Blaseg, director of education with the Rainbow board, speaking after a Dec. 18 board meeting where the financial statements were approved.

He said the board always makes “conservative” enrolment predictions, so it's not caught short when there's less students than expected.

“We have 50 schools,” Blaseg said.

“Let's say you miss your target by only three or four kids at each school. At a school it seems like nothing.

“But if you go 50 times three, that's 150 students. Now you're out by $1.5 million. You can see how easily that can get out of control.”

At the same time, though, the board is still struggling with declining enrolment, losing about 250 students per year.

Blaseg said the school board also posted a small surplus last year.

Earlier this month, the Sudbury Catholic District School Board posted a $2.5-million deficit for the 2011-2012 financial year.

The board gave several reasons for the budget shortfall, including spending more than they'd budgeted on retirement gratuities and supply teachers and having 75 fewer students than it had predicted.

During the Rainbow board's Dec. 18 meeting, trustee Dena Morrison said her counterparts with the Catholic board seemed surprised by the deficit.

“I just want to say I'm very confident the Rainbow board would never be facing a financial statement with an unexpected deficit,” she said. “It's good management of our staff who work in this area, and their ongoing reporting to us.”

Heidi Ulrichsen

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