Board poised for pandemic impact on budget

School officials prepare for scenarios based on how virus lockdown will impact state aid for 2020-21 year
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton School Board is weighing the impact a potential decrease in state aid due to the Covid-19 pandemic will have on the 2020-21 budget.

“With the pandemic and the expected shortfall in state revenue, which is coming to fruition, we have to prepare for a shortfall in revenue,” District Business Director Topher Adams said during Monday’s Finance Committee meeting. 

“There are a lot of questions out there, and we’re still early in the process, but we’re starting to think about how to be flexible and how to move forward with the uncertain revenue budget.”

During the April 27 School Board meeting, Adams outlined three possible scenarios that will come from the state in July. 

In the best-case scenario, revenue projections would not change for the 2020-21 school year and the district would see an increase of $60,211.

If the Legislature freezes the state budget at 2019-20 levels, the district’s revenue would decrease by approximately $38,000 next year. Adams said that would also result in a $310,278 revenue decrease in the 2021-22 budget, for a total decrease of $348,185.

In the worst-case scenario, 2020-2021 revenue would decrease by $224,531. The 2021-22 revenue would then decline by another $406,228, for a total decrease of $630,750.

Adams said future updates to the state budget will “likely trigger a required budget repair bill.”

The district is currently in position to have a balanced spending plan and includes inflationary increases, salary and benefit increases, as well as full-time employee adjustments based on enrollment and course selections. 

Adams said the board can delay acting on such things as salary increases, health benefit adjustments and filling three part-time positions and a full-time third-grade teaching post at Woodview Elementary School before it finalizes next year’s budget in July.

During Monday’s meeting, the Finance Committee discussed end-of-the-year purchasing options that were pegged for next year, in the likely event there will be a drop in state revenue.

The committee approved purchasing 350 Chromebooks for $100,000 and making $114,114 in payments for referendum-related projects that are either finished or nearly completed at Grafton High School and John Long Middle School.

Once more solid numbers are in from the state for next year, the board may tap into its general-fund balance ensure continuity for other programming options, Adams said.

“That would provide some flexibility,” he  said. “We will know much more in July than we do now.”



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