Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a return to an oral question asked by Mrs. Groenewegen on March 24, 1999, in regard to the disposition of education board surpluses.
The Divisional Education Councils (DECs) are already responsible for surpluses and deficits for about 90 percent of the contributions which they receive from the Department of Education, Culture and Employment. This portion of school costs is calculated by formula. The remaining infrastructure contributions for utilities, leases, and personnel costs (advertising, recruitment, medical, removals and dental benefits) are largely funded based on actual expenditures.
Prior to 1997-98 the Department of Public Works & Services, Executive and the Financial Management Board Secretariat paid for and invoiced the divisional educational councils for most infrastructure services. Recognizing that this administrative arrangement only allowed the DECs a limited ability to manage utility and personnel costs, contributions were based on the actual costs incurred.
With the implementation of User Pay/User Say Initiative, DECs have gained an increased ability to manage infrastructure costs. At the current time the DECs do not have discretion over spending surpluses in the infrastructure category. This category includes utilities, leases and personnel funding. The DECs and departmental representatives on the School Finance Committee are working to establish a formula that will also give the DECs greater financial responsibility in the infrastructure area. The committee will complete its research and have an infrastructure formula ready for the 2000-2001 school year. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.