Coffers unexpectedly full at the Thames Valley District School Board

An influx of new student enrolment at the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) means extra money in the board's budget. Superintendent Christine Beal says this hasn't happened in at least 10 years.

As of now, the board has an extra $4 million in their budget

An increase in new students has meant extra funding for the Thames Valley District School Board. Now, the board has to decide what to do with it. (Dave Chidley/CBC)

The Thames Valley District School Board has an unusual problem this year: What should they do with an influx of extra cash?

This year, the board had an extra 1,700 students enrol, which brought in $19 million in additional funding. 

After covering the extra expenses, hiring more teachers and support staff and — as of January — allocating some money for resources like special education, the board still has about $4 million left.

So what now?

At tonight's meeting, the board will discuss $1.5 million worth of proposed projects.

A few examples include:

  • Guaranteed funding for individual high school theatre productions.
  • Replacing and repairing outdated equipment in technology classrooms.
  • Upgrading track and field sites.
  • Supporting a Strong Start program in 22 elementary schools.

The board will vote on these items during their upcoming meeting Feb.  27. If the items are approved, the board will still have another $2.5 million left to work with.

More new students, means more money

​Superintendent Christine Beal said she hasn't seen a budget surplus like this in at least 10 years.

After a longstanding period of decreased enrolment, she said the board was caught off guard by a rush of new students coming from the Toronto area and outside Canada. 

"That was quite a surprise to us, we continue to accept new Canadians each week at the school board and we didn't realize that that would continue as steadily as it has," said Beal. 

The school board is expecting more new students in the years to come, which will come with its own challenges, she said.

"We have to turn around our mindset about how we accommodate those extra students and the extra resources that we need to make sure we do our best for them," she said.