Budget Covers New Materials, Pandemic Expenses

Budget Covers New Materials, Pandemic Expenses
Posted on 08/04/2020

The 2020-21 proposed budget increases spending by 5.82% from last year’s budget to cover increases for instructional materials, expenses related to the pandemic, and annual salary and benefits increases.

Revenues are projected to increase by 4%. The Consumer Price Index will increase from 1.9% for tax year 2019 to 2.3% for 2020 tax year. The CPI is used to calculate the total amount the district can collect in property taxes. New property valued at $34 million will also provide additional property tax revenues for the district. State and federal funds are expected to remain steady.

Final payouts on this summer’s capital improvement projects, including upgrading the HVAC system at Meadowbrook School and the construction of a new STEM lab at the junior high,  are included in this year’s spending.

Pandemic-related expenses include support staff for additional classes created to allow for physical distancing in learning spaces. There are also increased transportation costs resulting from a new contract effective this year as well as increased routes to allow for socially distanced busing service. The elementary schools are also seeking to hire health aides for each school nurse’s office. 

Other COVID-19 related expenses include: Purchasing face shields for each teacher and additional PPE for staff as needed; cleaning and disinfecting supplies, additional custodial time at each school to support daytime high-contact area cleaning, rental of three large event-style tents for each school where lunch and mask breaks will take place, outdoor wifi setup, electrostatic cleaners that will be used nightly throughout the buildings, software for students and staff to self-certify their health status daily, instructional supplies for remote learning and funds for additional instructional supplies that will be needed.

“The district is fortunate to have fund reserves to count on for such emergency spending,” said Jessica Donato, chief school business official. She predicted that fund reserves will be replenished over the following several years. The district reserve balance represents 40 to 45 percent of a full year’s budget.

The budget report  and tentative budget document are available for public view until a final budget is adopted by the Board of Education at the Sept. 22 regular meeting.