Trustees with the Kenora Catholic District School Board have approved its 2022-2023 Budget with a slight shortfall.

Superintendent of Business Services, Alison Smith, says this year’s budget includes estimated expenses of $33 million with revenues of $32.8 million, representing a $145,206 deficit. Although, this is considered ‘balanced’ as the Ministry of Education allows boards to operate a 1 per cent deficit.

The KCDSB says the majority of the deficit is due to a higher projected transportation cost this year and a shortfall in funding. They say while transportation funding has remained at just shy of $1.2 million, they expect costs to increase to just under $1.4 million.

Other funding fluctuations this year include a $1.18 million increase in Grants for Student Needs funding and an additional $750,000 in COVID-19 staff funding. They’re also hoping to see additional transportation funding after a re-evaluation from the province.

Smith adds the board is projecting a slight decrease in enrollment this year, but they’re only expecting to be down 13 students overall. Elementary students in St. Thomas Aquinas are expected to see the largest decrease, while secondary students will see an increase of 29 students.

Her report notes that three students remain enrolled in the board’s St. Isidore Virtual School, which was developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow students to learn remotely. The option to stay a virtual student has remained since, but is down 11 students from March, 2022.

When Ontario released its annual Sunshine List for 2021, which lists the names and salaries of those who make over $100,000 per year in the public sector, KenoraOnline found there were 75 employees with the KCDSB on the list. The highest earner was Director of Education Paul White, who has since retired.