PEI

'Underfunding' remains big issue for P.E.I. French Language School Board

The French Language School Board on P.E.I. says it's dealing with a deficit of more than $253,000 from the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Board says it has $253K deficit

Brad Samson, director of corporate services at the French Language School Board, says talks are underway with the province on required funding and levels of service as enrolment continues to grow. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

The French Language School Board on P.E.I. says it's dealing with a deficit of more than $253,000 from the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The board was working from an operational budget of $17.3 million.

The numbers were discussed at the board's recent annual meeting, said Brad Samson, the board's director of corporate services.

P.E.I.'s French student population has surpassed 1,000 — an increase of 22 per cent over the past five years, according to the board.

However that progress has brought financial challenges, Samson said.

"The deficit has been due to several circumstances mainly relating to salaries and transportation," he said.

"There are always some unplanned expenses that could be students with various needs or students who haven't acquired the language yet and things of that nature, where we have put in place services for the students."

'Continue to be a priority'

Talks are underway with the province on required funding and levels of service as enrolment continues to grow, Samson said.

In a news release, officials with the board said the "underfunding of French language education will continue to be a priority during the 2019-2020 fiscal year."

Officials with the board said it's the most important project in the Acadian and francophone community since the Arsenault-Cameron v. Prince Edward Island case in 2000, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled children in the Summerside area had a right to an education in French.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Angela Walker

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