Increased enrolment leaves public school board with $6.1M budget surplus

Director of Education Erin Kelly said an unexpected enrolment boost of nearly 400 students contributed to the surplus.

Greater Essex County District School board plans to reduce its deficit to $4.5 million

(CBC News)

The public school board in Windsor-Essex closed its books for the 2016-17 school year Tuesday night with a whopping $6.1 million budget surplus thanks to an increased number of students.

Director of Education Erin Kelly said she can't explain why the Greater Essex County District School Board saw an unexpected enrolment boost of nearly 400 students in the middle of the year.

"We wonder about that," she said. "Of course, there would be some newcomers, and then people returning to the area perhaps, but that was unusual for us."

Kelly pointed to a growing number of international students as another possible reason for the board's suddenly flush financial state, along with the region's strong economy.

Enrolment was up again this fall, which should help the current year's budget.

Board on track to eliminate deficit

Kelly said the surplus will allow the board to reduce its capital deficit to $4.5 million and added they're on track to eliminate it in the next few years.

"We do have a few properties that are ready to be sold," she explained. "For example, Victoria, Harrow high school. We have a number of things in the works, Benson. All those are properties that we could sell in the next while, which again would be something that we could put towards our capital deficit."

Eliminating the deficit will allow the board to do more for its students, according to Kelly.