Working out this year’s district budget in a plan showing its age by more than 50 years is one task for Carson City School District chief financial officer Andrew Feuling. Staying on top of the new funding formula through the Nevada Commission for School Funding is reasonably a harder one.
The conversations shift each time the commission meets because the data from the Nevada Department of Education changes daily – literally. The specifics of the new funding model, the Pupil-Centered Funding Plan, are still being considered. Even some of its definitions are still being narrowed.
On Tuesday when Feuling provided the district’s Board of Trustees its budget assumptions for fiscal year 2022, he referred to the past year’s discussions on the PCFP, created by Senate Bill 543 in 2019 that goes into effect as of July 1. The new formula, come February, is intended to replace the obsolete Nevada Plan.
In the meantime, the current funding model continues to make certain assumptions that have not been finalized, Feuling emphasized, including a statewide base per-pupil number of 7,226 used since the Augenblick, Palaich and Associates adequacy study in 2018 assumed to keep up with inflation through 2022, which Feuling said does not. Carson, however, as a small district with its estimated base funding of $56.1 million, would benefit somewhat and gain an extra $530 per pupil adjustment. Yet, that might seem like a smaller figure to other districts such as neighboring Douglas County with its base funding of $41 million but gains $895 per pupil or Lyon County at a total of $64.4 million and going up to $1,606 per student.
Carson Montessori, Feuling said, gets the same base funding per pupil and $2 million in funding but does not get any size adjustment.
Feuling also discussed the various baseline weights for the special populations, including English language learners, Gifted and Talented Education and special education students.
However, in reviewing 2020’s hold harmless figures when comparing the new model to the older one, he stated Carson City will have to be frozen for FY22 at this year’s levels because the school district has been overfunded for years.
Feuling’s best estimate of the district’s new general fund was more than $72.8 million for fiscal year 2022 and said that also could apply through 2027 and does not include Gov. Steve Sisolak’s 12% budget reduction planning measures sent out to state agencies in November. More work is expected and additional information will be reported in January, he said.
“Likely, it’ll be four to six years before we catch up to the new formula,” he projected. “If the will is there, maybe it’ll get better. … But … our costs do not stay flat.”
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