The Board of Education unanimously adopted the school district’s 2020-2021 budget on June 17, finding the budget balanced without the drastic cuts the district expected just one month ago. However, …
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The Board of Education unanimously adopted the school district’s 2020-2021 budget on June 17, finding the budget balanced without the drastic cuts the district expected just one month ago.
However, district officials and board members have been quick to emphasize that large budget cuts are almost certain for 2021-2022.
By June 17, the School Finance Act had made it through the House and the Senate and detailed about $30.6 million in state cuts for Jeffco this year after some reductions are absorbed by charter schools.
Jeffco is also expecting about $42 million at the least in CARES Act funding. Though some of those funds can only be used for specific purposes related to the pandemic, the district’s financial team has found a strategy to ensure all of the funds are put to good use.
Chief financial officer Kathleen Askelson proposed that Jeffco use about $20 million on some of last year’s COVID-19 expenses. This would essentially give the district an extra $20 million in its reserve fund that can be used to offset the millions of dollars in cuts for the coming year.
The remaining $22 million in CARES Act funding will go to expenses in the coming school year.
The use of CARES funding coupled with other changes in revenue and expenditures leaves the district in need of $1.3 million to balance the budget. Askelson previously told Colorado Community Media that while district reserves could be used for this purpose, Jeffco is also expecting more coronavirus aid money that could cover this cost.
Superintendent Jason Glass told board members and community members to expect amendments to the budget throughout the year, as so much of the financial future is currently uncertain.
In the meeting, Askelson also highlighted that because CARES money will likely not be issued next year, the district will need to rely on 2021-2022 budget reductions to make up for the loss of $30.6 million in state funding.
The board said it hoped to continue working with the district’s Community Budget Advisory Committee to determine what those future cuts might be.
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