District scolaire francophone Nord-Est (DSFNE) ended its budget year for the year 2021-22 with a surplus of close to $ 700,000.
This was revealed by the organization at the monthly public meeting of its education council.
According to the figures presented, DSFNE has established an operating budget of $ 124,217,317 for this period (2021-22). Of this amount, $ 123,522,179 was spent, leaving $ 695,138 unused in the coffers.
“It may seem like a lot, but when you analyze the situation, it’s pretty small in the $ 124 million budget. It represents almost 0.5% of the budget. That being said, it’s still a huge amount and it’s much more interesting. wili than a shortage, “admits DSFNE director general Marc Pelletier.
According to him, the result of the financial year was all in all interesting because it was carried out in the middle of the pandemic period, therefore punctuated uncertainties.
Much of this surplus is attributed, in particular, to the salaries of teachers and support staff. Taken together, these are 1.6 million less than expected.
“There were costs that were planned, but didn’t occur because of the pandemic, such as teacher training for example, or even at the level of replacement because schools and classes had to close. The fall strike also resulted in less spending. All of that, the adjustments and the unexpected situations, have led us to make surpluses ”, suggests Mr. Pelletier.
On the other hand, other departments generated more costs than expected, thus reducing excess margins. This was the case, among other things, for the material and equipment part, which experienced an overrun at a cost of $ 365,418.
According to Mr. Pelletier, a large part of the costs directly related to the fight against the pandemic were absorbed by the Ministry of Education. Specifically we are talking about everything related to disinfectants, masks, protective walls or even additional costs associated with replacement therapy.
For the excess $ 695,138, DSFNE will be able to retain a maximum of $ 300,000, money that will be transferred to its reserve fund. The difference ($ 395,138) will be returned to the government.
What will the money allocated by the district be used for?
“We already have little idea what we want to do with this amount,” Mr. Pelletier.
“We want to invest it in young people, like life improvement projects, community outings or anything related to mental health. We also want to promote projects that aim to reduce the gaps that arise due to the pandemic, specifically in terms of literacy. These are aspects that have been tested over the past two years, so we want to pay attention to them, ”indicated the general manager, who specified that these funds will not be used for renovations or renovation projects. infrastructure.
Absenteeism: the situation stabilizes
Although the issue of absenteeism was not addressed at the education council meeting, the problem was still present at DSFNE. That being said, the situation has improved compared to the past few weeks.
“There are always cases of COVID-19, but there is also a wave of seasonal flu and gastroenteritis spreading in some of our establishments, and it happens almost everywhere in the province”, underlined the general director.
However, Mr. Pelletier does not find the student absenteeism rate particularly alarming.
“It’s pretty stable and looks similar to what we see in normal times with, certainly, cases of flu and gastro. We haven’t seen many of these other diseases in the last two years because of “, in my opinion, wearing a mask. So it’s pretty normal to see a more traditional disease now that this obligation has fallen,” he said.
However, he believes these conclusions are unscientific. This is a question of observations because schools do not ask families to identify the illness caused by students ’absenteeism.
Still according to Mr. Pelletier, staff absenteeism is still relatively high.
“Something has decreased, but it is still high. Over the past two years, absenteeism rates among our staff have never been lower. Our people were there during the pandemic, they answered the call. But there, it feels tired, we see more and more leaves related to overwork, exhaustion, ”he said, noting the reception of the same story from other districts.