Worries about the budget and what the fall semester may look like permeated the June 16 Ste. Genevieve R-II Board of Education meeting.
Held live, but with no one outside of board members and administrators allowed to attend for the second straight month, the meeting also saw the board adopt a 2020-21 budget.
Dr. Julie Flieg, superintendent of schools, said that the usual budget process could not be followed this year, due to the COVID-19 situation.
In May 2020, there was a partial withhold in transportation payment and no payment in Classroom Trust Fund. In June 2020, Flieg anticipates a 39-percent withhold in formula payment was made by the state, as well as no transportation payment and probably no Classroom Trust Fund payment.
“It’s a small amount,” Flieg said of the Classroom Trust Fund payment, “but it is money that we budget and we do get every month.”
“The governor has told us that in July, and possibly beyond, there will be more withholds in our state payments. He’ll continue to do that until he has a better understanding of what the numbers look like.”
She said the district will receive some federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security [CARES] Act money.
“But, we are going to request that it go in fiscal year ‘21 and not in the current year’s budget,” Flieg explained. “We believe it’s going to help cover some shortfalls in revenue, which I think is going to happen.”
Flieg said that the district has always taken a conservative approach to budgeting, budgeting for deficit spending, but always being able to avoid it.
“They talk about deficit spending,” Flieg said, “but I wanted to put this out there and kind of prepare you that next year we really may have to dip into those reserve funds. But, that’s what they’re there for, these type of situations.”
For this budget, which ends at the end of June, Flieg thinks the district will either come out with a balanced budget, or even “a tad to the positive.”
Flieg recommended that the board approve the step movement on the salary schedule for support staff and certified staff. That figures in years of service. The lane movements [including total college hours] is also part of the certified staff scale.
The first amended budget will be presented on September 15.
Flieg said with tax filings moved back from April 15 to July 15, “We’re kind of holding our breath to see how that revenue comes in.”
Meanwhile teachers and staff are being asked to only purchase the bare minimum of supplies needed to start the school year.
Flieg has hopes of some other revenue coming in. Along with the CARES Act, there may be money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and perhaps some money from the county’s CARES Act funds. Also, a $5,000 grant is being sought. Flieg noted that Bailey Otto, director of communications, “is a really good grant writer.”
The board also talked about the 2020 fall semester. Much is still up in the air, due to the COVID-19 situation and the fear of a second wave hitting in the fall.
Board member Martha Resinger mentioned that there is talk of split weeks being tried.
Some students could also take online classes through Launch, a Springfield-based company. Launch would charge a fee for this. The district would be credited with 94 percent of the student attendance for Launch.
Home schooling is also an option although the school district would have no connection with it.