School District 58 will need to find six-figure savings as school districts are being asked by the provincial government to tighten their belts in 2015.

The provincial budget, announced last week, calls for a clawback of $54 million over the next two years.

School District 58 board of trustees chair Gordon Comeau said this will result in his district needing to find about $350,000 in savings over the course of the next three years.

He said this will limit the amount of surplus funds school boards can carry and use in case the need arises.

Comeau said he thinks SD58 is strong enough to “weather the storm” for a few years, but the cuts will force the district to be more frugal.

The district was looking to put more money into human resources, which is an initiative that will be put on hold for the time being.

These savings are being asked to come from administrative costs, he said.

Comeau said he thinks this budget doesn’t do much to help school boards.

“It’s definitely not a good news budget for school districts,” he said.

Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart said in the past, other ministries have been asked to find efficiencies and in this budget it’s the education ministry’s turn.

This year’s budget has allotted more than $550 million more over the next three years for B.C.’s education sector to compensate for the new collective agreement with teachers.

MLA lauds budget highlights

Following the provincial government’s balanced budget announcement last week, Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart believes there are a few highlights that should prove beneficial for Merritt-area residents.

The government will be ending its deduction of child support payments from income-assistance calculations come September — a move Tegart said will benefit single mothers.

There’s an additional $20 million added to the budget for income assistance and $100 million in additional funding over the next three years for Community Living B.C., a provincial agency that assists adults with developmental disabilities.

These changes are good news for people throughout the riding and B.C. who have a hard time making ends meet, she said.

New funding for hospice and palliative care for children and adults is an area that the government has heard concerns on and committed new funding toward in this budget as well, Tegart said.