News Item

Board Highlights (June 2020)

June 19, 2020

Notes from the June 17, 2020 Regular (Public) Meeting of the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) Board of Educationlogo-vertical.jpg

2020-2021 Budget

An overview of the school division's proposed budget for the upcoming school year, presented to the Board by Superintendent of Division Services/Chief Financial Officer Shelley Toth, received board consent and will be submitted to the Ministry for approval.  The Superintendent reported that the budget includes total revenue of $112.5 million, operating expenditures of $111.6 million, capital expenditures of $11.6 million and total staff of 1,065.14 full time equivalents.

Toth explained that the budget is prepared in accordance with Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) standards "which requires the amortization of capital assets over their useful life and the recording of provincial grants at the time they have been authorized."  Thus, the budget includes $8.2 million that has been authorized for capital grant for Legacy Park Elementary School, which expenses will not be expensed for the building until it is complete and then will be amortized over 50 years.  The CFO explained that when PSAB is converted to a cash budget and the capital project and any restricted funding within that are separated out, the division's operating a cash deficit of almost $4.6 million. She stated that unfortunately the increase of 1.8% received in provincial funding was not enough to balance the budget and in order to maintain the level of service and support provided to students and staff the Board has chosen to run a deficit budget.  Further, she stated, "The operating deficit will be funded using accumulated surplus from prior years and we're estimating to have roughly $25 million in unrestricted surplus once the current 2019-2020 budget year is complete."

The budget includes new funding in the amount of $285,000 from the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) through an agreement between the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan. Monies will enable school divisions to reduce energy usage, achieve cost savings and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  SECPSD will receive a total of $515,782.00 from the CAIF.  Half of the funds will be advanced in the current fiscal year with a portion being applied to upgrade buildings to LED lighting.

Preventative Maintenance & Renewal (PMR)

Shelley Toth reported that each spring the Ministry requires the Board to approve a three-year Preventative Maintenance & Renewal (PMR) plan and to make any adjustments to the upcoming year's plan.  Although best projections are included at the time of submission, circumstances, prices and priorities change over the ensuing months resulting in the necessity for the annual updates.  The Superintendent said PMR is restricted funding used to maintain buildings, architectural, mechanical and HVAC systems and roofs and to carry out feasibility or assessment studies of buildings. She explained that SECPSD uses Asset Planner to report the division's information to the Ministry.  The new three-year plan showed amendments for the following two years and the new year added on covering roofs, HVAC systems and other facility upgrades.  It was noted that roof costs have dropped over the past few years, but playground structures come with enormous costs which would probably double factoring in pro bono contributions.  The amended PMR form and three-year plan received Board approval and will be submitted to the Ministry.

Facilities & Transportation Bi-Annual Report

Andy Dobson, Manager of Facilities & Transportation provided updated transportation facts and figures to the Board in a bi-annual report.  The division's three transportation shops are located in Estevan, Moosomin and Weyburn.  The brand-new Weyburn shop is slightly behind schedule as far as the substantial turnover date of June 17, which Dobson explained has now been moved to the first week of July.  Shop personnel across the division include three supervisors/foremen, five technicians, 155 bus drivers and 32 substitute drivers.  SECPSD has 112 bus routes and there are 42 routes serviced by First Student. The manager reported that statistical data indicates that the south service area fleet needs to be renewed as there are 18 regular route buses and 11 spare route buses that exceed current guidelines in that they are over 10 years old (regular) and 12 years (spare) and have exceeded either 300,000 or 350,000 kms. Data also indicates that annually ten buses should be replaced, although funding can restrict the department with such an acquisition.

The number of route cancellations from September to January was 78 and last year for the same time period there were 117. Dobson said weather can really play a factor in bus cancellations; for example, during the first half of this school year there were 17.5 days and last year 67 days on which there were cancellations due to inclement weather.  In response to a question that arose regarding bus seating capacity with respect to COVID-19, Director of Education Lynn Little explained that the matter is being studied at the provincial level by a transportation sub-committee under the Corporate Services team of Saskatchewan's Response Planning Team and the findings are being shared with the Ministry of Health.  Although an ad campaign to recruit bus drivers was undertaken last year, Dobson said the lack of spare bus drivers in Moosomin and First Student areas continues to be a challenge. He is also keeping the Carievale/Carnduff area on the radar in terms of having sufficient bus drivers as three are currently considering retirement.

Quarterly Operating and Financial Report

The Quarterly Finance Report was presented by Marilyn Yurkiw, Manager of Finance.  The report presented was reflective of revenue and expenses received and incurred up to May 31, 2020.  The Statement of Operations indicates that revenue of $76,424,164 was received up to May 31, 2020, while expenses incurred up to this period of time were $78,225,366. As of the report date the school division's year to date expenses total approximately 72.5 % of budget.  This illustrates the division is remaining on track financially at three quarters into the current fiscal year. 

The projection for the full fiscal year was presented within the report.  This projection was completed with the additional costs as well as the projected savings in various areas resulting from the changes due to COVID-19.  This projection includes variances in most areas of the revenue and expense budgets.  The revenue is projected to be over budget by $922,016, and the operating expenses are projected to be $1,324,259 under budget.

Sale of Land in Gladmar

In accordance with legislation, the Board approved the request from the Rural Municipality of Surprise Valley to purchase a small parcel of property situated adjacent to Gladmar Regional School for one dollar, with the RM covering all transfer costs. The land contains a church which is currently used as a community hall.

Emergency Community Support Fund

Coordinator of Student Services Cheryl Anderson joined the meeting via WebEx to share some of the work staff is doing to support families via a second nutritional project this year.  Anderson explained that SECPSD applied for and through the South Saskatchewan Emergency Grant Fund received a $30,000 grant from the Government of Canada's Emergency Community Support Fund which assists community organizations in helping vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis. Funding criteria included using the funds by April 2021 and applying them to a project not previously done.  In collaboration with the leadership of cafeteria staff at Estevan Comprehensive School (Curtis Hack) and Weyburn Comprehensive School (Ardelle Pearson) and school administrators a plan was put in place to deliver three meals to 250 families in June.  The plan included having the meals prepared at the two high schools and distributed via the division's transportation department to various schools.  From there principals arranged a pick-up and delivery schedule.  Anderson was impressed with the amazing teamwork and project turnaround time of roughly three weeks from application to delivery of the meals.  Using the remaining funds, more meals will be prepared in the fall for families in need.

School Board Election and Provincial Election

The Board passed a motion approving Shelley Toth as Returning Officer for the election of board members to be held on November 9, 2020.  In addition, the Board approved a slight alteration in the 2020-2021 school year calendar, which had been approved by the Board on April 22, in accordance with a government directive for October 26 to be designated as a non-instructional day across the province in order for schools to accommodate polling stations for the provincial election, resulting in October 5 now being scheduled as an instructional day in SECPSD.

Correspondence from SSLA

Appreciation was expressed for the work of Katie Bell, a teacher at Weyburn Comprehensive School, for her service on the executive of the Saskatchewan School Library Association in the role of Publication Councillor, as acknowledged in correspondence from the President of the SSLA.  Bell produced the association's yearly editions of their professional journal The Medium.  The Board commends Bell for her dedication and efforts to support the professional growth of teachers in this regard.

Articles by Norm Park

Articles submitted by Norm Park, contracted reporter for SECPSD, are available at these links:  Board Briefs, Budget, Community Foundation, PMR, Transportation

Upcoming Meetings

08 19-20/20Board Annual Strategic Planning Meeting
09 02 20Board Strategic Planning Meeting
09 16 20Committee-of-the-Whole Board Meeting
09 16 20Regular (Public) Board Meeting


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For more information, please contact:

South East Cornerstone Public School Division

80A-18th Street N.E., Weyburn, SK S4H 2W4

Telephone: (306) 848-0080,Website:, Email:

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