The School District 67 Board of Trustees voted on Feb. 24 to hire an external financial expert to help them balance their books. The district today announced they have hired a private financial advisor, Joan Axford, to assist the board with financial oversight in regards to their budget. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Ministry grants SD67 extension to balance books, submit amended budget

The board of trustees voted Monday to acquire outside help to deal with budget concerns

School District 67 has been granted an extension by the Ministry of Education to balance their books and approve their amended 2019/20 budget.

They are set to submit the 2019/20 amended budget, with the help of a private financial advisor, following the third and final reading of the budget bylaw at a board meeting March 9.

The district announced Thursday (Feb. 27) they have hired private financial advisor, Joan Axford, to assist the board with financial oversight in regards to their budget.

This comes after SD67 Trustees voted in a Monday (Feb. 24) board meeting to bring on an external financial expert to help balance their books. At the meeting, concerns were raised by members of the public and trustees about SD67’s financial situation.

Trustees also decided not to give third reading to the $73 million budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, giving them less than a week to meet the deadline set by the Ministry.

READ MORE: School district looks to financial expert to balance books

The district explained Joan Axford is a professional accountant with over 35 years of experience in education finance. She has previously worked for School District 63, and as director of school finance for the Ministry of Education.

SD67 board chair James Palanio says the board and Axford have agreed to produce the following together:

  • A simple explanation of the 2018/19 operating deficit
  • Clarification of the decisions in the amended 2019/20 budget, impact on the 2020/21 budget and a financial forecast to June 30, 2020
  • A report on operating reserves, school generated funds and local capital over the past three years
  • Provision of a Financial Literacy and Budget Development Workshop for the Board
  • Provision of budget consultation and communication strategies
  • Development of a budget implementation plan to ensure that all areas of the organization understand and can manage their area of budget responsibility.

SD67 assistant superintendent Todd Manuel said the school district appreciates the budget work of staff to date and recognizes the amended budget is intended to have, “the least impact on educational programs.”

“The Board is committed to move forward in a positive manner, with tools to work collaboratively and transparently with our staff and partners on a sound 2020/21 annual budget plan,” he said.

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

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