KITCHENER -- The Waterloo Region District School Board saved some money earlier this year because of the COVID-19 shut down, but officials said that money is now helping keep the schools running amid the pandemic.

The WRDSB saved money when schools shut down in March, and a teacher strike shortly before.

However, any money they were able to squirrel away is now helping run the schools, since it's more expensive to do so during the pandemic.

The school board reported a surplus just shy of $14 million in the 2019-20 budget. The money is largely due to strike savings -- not paying teachers for days missed due to job action. There is also some money leftover from government grants.

But, the WRDSB said the money won't last long now that schools are up and running again.

"Although the amount has grown as a result from savings over previous years and more specifically last year, the board is in a position where we are going to incur a significant amount of deficit spending to support our operations during COVID," Superintendent Matthew Gerrard said.

The school board said it's working on a report in the coming months to lay out the anticipated spending to keep staff and students safe.