Burnaby school district closes books on 2018/19 $6.8M in the black

The Burnaby school district closed the books on another year in the black this month.

Audited financial statements for 2018/19 were presented to the school board at a meeting last week and showed the district adding just under $1.4 million to its accumulated surplus, which now stands at more than $13.7 million.

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The district actually ended last year about $6.8 million in the black ($6.2 million more than anticipated in its budget) but set aside $5.4 million of that in its local capital fund for things like future technology upgrades, vehicle replacements, furniture and equipment.

“Basically all of that local capital money has a commitment against it,” explained secretary-treasurer Russell Horswill. “Capital projects don’t end on June 30 when we do our financial statements; they usually cross over into multiple years.”

Horswill said the board decided to transfer extra money into local capital when it became clear the operating surplus would be higher than projected.

Horswill said the higher than anticipated operating surplus was “made up of a lot of little things,” but the biggest contributors were higher revenues because of higher than projected enrolment of both regular and international students and lower expenses – mostly in the form of unspent funds for supplies and services at the school level.

Horswill said unspent school funds are carried forward in the accumulated surplus as restricted funds, earmarked for future projects.

“We ask people to manage their money wisely, and that doesn’t always mean making sure you spend the money in the current fiscal year,” he said. “Obviously we have conversations around what these funds are and why they’re carrying forward, but we don’t want people just going on a spending spree because we’re approaching our fiscal year end.

To see the audited financial statements, visit burnabyschools.ca, click on the “Board” tab and then select “Budget & Policies.”

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