The Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows School District is estimating a $2.74 million shortfall of its 2021/2022 preliminary budget. (THE NEWS/files)

Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows school district estimating $2.74 million budget shortfall

$1.25 million of which is due to the estimated impact of the COVID-19 outbreak

The Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District is estimating a $2.74 million shortfall of its 2021/2022 preliminary budget, $1.25 million of which is due to the estimated impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the district’s international education program.

The preliminary budget, presented to the board last week, proposes a solution of using $3.34 million from surplus and reserves to make up the shortfall and to continue funding some initiatives on a one-time basis.

“We are seeing a shortfall, which is compounded with a really unusual time, an unknowing time, really, to what next year will look like funding wise,” board chairwoman Korleen Carreras told The News.

“We have the rest of the year that we’re figuring out what shortfalls may happen.”

SEE ALSO:Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows school district assessing student needs for virtual education

According to the budget, potential revenue losses related to COVID-19 include lower interest revenue, the impact of travel restrictions and extended global caution on the international academic and cultural program, an anticipated reduction of facility rental, and reduction of Ridge Meadows College programs.

Potential additional costs due to COVID-19 include an increase in sick leaves, additional custodial staffing, anticipated supply cost increases, the need for specialized cleaning equipment, and technology to support evolving work and instruction environments.

“Working through a budget during this time is complicated for everyone,” Carreras said. “It’s had significant impacts on every citizen in our community, so it’s challenging and it does create some unknowns for us.”

There are a number of proposals in the budget, which Carreras said are important to look at as a whole.

“Any change that you make always has significant impacts.”

The district is collecting public input on the preliminary budget. People who wish to share their thoughts on the budget can do so through an online survey at https://letstalksd42.ca/202021-budget-process, which is expected to close April 24 at noon.

A decision on the preliminary budget is to be made April 29.

To view the complete budget proposal, click here.

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