The Richmond School District is taking a conservative approach to next year’s budget given the COVID-19 situation, estimating $7 million less in revenue from international students.
This “worst-case scenario” would mean a net loss of $3-4 million, explained the school district’s secretary-treasurer Roy Uyeno, something that would be used for school district operations.
Last year, international and out-of-province students brought in $18.5 million and this year it was budgeted to be $19.5 million.
Uyeno doesn’t expect more than $500,000 less in revenue this year because most tuition was already paid by March, but next year, if the pandemic has a “ripple effect” on international students arriving, the impact will be much more significant, Uyeno said.
Uyeno said the school district looks at risk mitigation and hasn’t been expanding its international student program so fast as to put the district into a risky situation.
But this is a situation no one could have forecast.
“When it comes to something like an unprecedented situation like COVID, I don’t think anyone has a risk-mitigation strategy to cover that kind of situation,” Uyeno said.
While the school district gains financially from the international student program, Uyeno said there are also educational benefits to having students in the school from abroad.
“Having those international students in our schools is seen to be an educational benefit to the rest of our students as well,” he added.
The school board is currently working on its 2020/21 budget. More information can be found at www.sd38.bc.ca.