The Fremont Board of Education passed its 2021-22 budget in a meeting Monday night.
The General Fund budget will decrease by 1.70%, from $ 69,660,381 to $ 68,473,032. The decrease is mainly due to the reduction in federal funds intended to help the COVID-19 response. The adopted budget also provides for the maintenance of the property tax levy at the same level as the previous year.
Three sets of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Assistance (ESSERS) funds have been allocated and budgeted during the 2020-2021 budget year and can be expensed until September 2023. It is expected that the General Fund budget will continue to decrease until all ESSERS funds are expensed.
The budget of the general fund of the SPF covers personnel, training, transport and most operating costs. Staff costs represent 87% of the general fund, while instruction costs represent 76% of the rest of the general fund.
A majority of the budget, 51% is financed by property taxes. The second source of income is state aid, which finances 29% of the budget.
The council approved the council / district goal of improving the district’s financial situation. An action step in the goal is to maximize resources while creating an expense budget that meets the needs of the neighborhood, while being sensitive to the needs of neighborhood customers.
“This goal, established eight years ago, has been a guiding principle since its inception and is once again honored in the 2021-2022 budget,” said SPF Associate Superintendent Brad Dahl, who detailed the budget Monday night.
The proposed budget incorporates changes due to the negotiated agreement and increases for all employee groups of 3.5%. Almost all other budget lines are the same as the previous year. The exception would be changes due to increases in state and federal programs with compensatory revenues. The budget takes into account the addition of Cares Act / ESSERS funding related to COVID-19 and the corresponding expenses.
Overall, the total district operating budget represents a net decrease of 1.00%. At the same time, on the resource side, the district experiences a drop in the taxable value and state aid. Declines in the district’s two main sources of funding required the use of $ 2.7 million in cash reserves.
“Tapping into cash reserves is not desirable nor something the district should be doing on a regular basis,” said Todd Hansen, board member.
Dahl said officials do not take the use of cash reserves lightly.
“We have spent the past eight years positioning the district to take this necessary step,” he said. “If the income situation does not improve next year, we will provide other options.”
Dahl said the drop in the estimated valuation is due to the exemption of personal property (equipment) by several large community and railroad employers, coupled with both drylands and irrigated farmlands that are experiencing a decrease.
The boundaries of the FPS extend to the parcels of Saunders and Douglas counties. Dodge and Douglas were down 3.03% and 3.59%, respectively, while Saunders rose 4.19%.
Problems affecting the finances of the SPF include government revenues which do not keep pace with the increase in expenditure.
“Last year we saw a slight increase in the number of students enrolled, which is impacting the needs side of the state aid formula,” Dahl said. “At the same time, we have seen a fairly significant increase in our assessed valuation. “
The district continues to be efficient in its spending. The FPS is ranked 11th out of 244 school districts in the state in terms of spending per student. The district spends $ 11,981 per student compared to the state average of $ 13,558.
“The budget approved tonight faithfully reflects the income and expenses of the district and meets the educational needs of the district while honoring the needs of the community,” said Sandi Proskovec, chairman of the board. “Budgeting for the FPS is a year-long process that is taken seriously with intention. ”