Legislature, funding formula putting Carson City School District budget in ‘holding pattern’

Carson City School District director of fiscal services Andrew Feuling

Carson City School District director of fiscal services Andrew Feuling

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Planning ahead for the 2021-22 fiscal year currently depends on the ongoing legislative process and the outcome of the heavily debated funding formula, the Carson City School Board heard last week.

Chief financial officer Andrew Feuling said the district is now in a “holding pattern” since details have not yet been finalized on the Pupil-Centered Funding Plan.

“We were caught off guard in expectation for how funds would be distributed in (Senate Bill) 543 in the 2019 session and the Pupil-Centered Funding Plan that is now in a phased-in approach for the biennium,” Feuling said.

The Nevada Department of Education continues its works on adopting a methodology for distribution, but no timeline has been established for now, Feuling and other school district CFOs heard in a recent meeting.

However, one of the biggest impacts will be to the charter schools, with approximately 60,000 students attending sites in the state. Charter schools do not collect local revenues. Carson City gives a portion of its local revenues to Carson Montessori. Feuling said more of these local revenues will have to go to the charter schools, but the NDE has not given any indication to the districts about when additional information will be forthcoming.

Preliminary Department of Taxation figures were released, Feuling said, and show the Local Schools Support Tax will increase by almost $1 million in FY22 according to the Nevada Plan and there is also a slight increase of approximately $32,000 with the Government Support Tax.

New federal stimulus revenues Carson City has received to help with COVID-19 expenses will be of use and are under consideration as well. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) stimulus revenues, set to expire in 2022, Feuling said, is the first large portion CCSD received to assist with cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment. Feuling noted even though the district learned about the CARES money months ago, staff recently learned about other funding such as the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) designated for non-public schools, school districts and charter schools to support reopening campuses and focus on educational technology or reimbursement for coronavirus related costs.

CCSD also received more than $1.1 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) I and $4.4 million in ESSER II funds to help schools provide remote learning services while they are closed and develop plans for return to regular operations.

The district also received the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund I and II to support underrepresented, first-generation and historically underserved students.

ESSER I funds and GEER I must be spent by September 2022, Feuling said, while ESSER II and GEER II pots must be spent by September 2023.

“All school districts need more adequate funding, and I think it’s being pitted rural vs. urban (school districts),”

Trustee Mike Walker said in response to Feuling’s presentation. “This plan is not going to be successful unless they increase funding for education. Just taking what’s already inadequate isn’t going to solve anything.”

“Even if you change the old Nevada plan, you still have inadequate funding,” Feuling responded, describing his discussions in the past year as a member of the Nevada Commission on School Funding, the sole focus of which has been determining the logistics of the Pupil Centered Funding Plan and making recommendations to bring to the Legislature this season for implementation.


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