The Boonville School District will have to work with a budget shortfall upward of $500,000 for the 2020-21 school year due to the economic impact associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020-21 fiscal year starts July 1. The Boonville Board of Education will have to approve a final budget in June. The board held a discussion May 13 regarding the district budget.
The district still has not received about 20% of expected revenue for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The district also is certain revenue sources, such as transportation, will have reductions next year, Superintendent Sarah Marriott said.
“When you have not a significant decrease in expenditures, but you have a significant [unexpected] decrease in revenues, then that results in financial concerns for the current school year,” she said.
The district may end the year deficit spending and may tap budget reserves.
“We hope we can continue to collect revenues as we had anticipated,” Marriott said. “Some of that is just uncertain and we know we are not going to collect [everything].”
The district, therefore, is planning for a $400,000 to at least $500,000 loss for the next year.
“We have taken some proactive measures to offset that a bit,” Marriott said. “There is a careful balance of what we are projecting for revenues.”
The state uses the foundation formula, which uses attendance and other data points to assess how much state funding a district receives. If a hold is placed on the formula, that will have a significant financial impact on the district, Marriott said.
The district also has to be ready for any reductions in property tax revenue.
“[Budgeting] is just very fluid and uncertain at the moment,” Marriott said. “We have spent a significant amount of time trying to develop a budget for Fiscal Year 2021 that we are comfortable with.”
The district was able to reduce utility expenses and temporarily stop purchasing classroom supplies. The district instead has made cleaning supply and other disinfecting material purchases.
The district will receive around $221,000 from the coronavirus relief bill to help offset COVID-19-related purchases. This was included in the 2021 budget, Marriott said.
“That allows us to have a bit of a cushion, however it is very, very minimal,” she said.
The district also has applied for COVID-19 reimbursement funds from the State Emergency Management Agency. SEMA funds are not guaranteed, Marriott said.
Even if the district does receive a reimbursement, it is only for 75% of what was spent, she said.
District personnel still will receive their regular step raises based on years of service, but no changes will be made to district base pay or step raise amounts.
“We are not freezing salaries, currently. That is not the intention,” Marriott said. “We want to go ahead and award those steps, but as far as putting additional money onto the base salary, that is not something we are able to do for the upcoming school year.”