The Carson City School Board on Tuesday adopted an amended final budget for the 2023-24 school year. The move allows the administration to add positions to its general fund and reduce its projected deficit.
Nevada school districts have 30 days after the end of a legislative session to submit an amended budget.
CCSD Fiscal Services Director Spencer Winward said the district was pleased with the results from the session.
“We had this historic increase to education that was in flux until the final days of the legislative session, and we’re happy that that closed out in favor of the students of Nevada,” Winward said.
State funding increased by 26.1%, of which Carson City’s portion will be a 17.96% increase over the last biennium, Winward said. This allows Carson City to move out of its “hold harmless” status that it has resided in since 2019 without maintaining increases to its budget.
It also has received multiple rounds of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) grant funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act in 2020 and the American Response Plan in 2021, total funding of more than $1 billion had been awarded to schools and state education agencies to keep services going during and after COVID-19. Grants for these programs will sunset after FY24.
Winward was unable to say how the state’s increased funding amounts for education would translate into an exact dollar total for exiting the district’s hold-harmless status when Trustee Richard Varner asked.
But Winward continued to address the common factors impacting the district’s budget overall, including declining student enrollment numbers, the school debt tax rate that remains the same since 2011 and the ad valorem assessed valuation of property in the city, which has increased since 2015 and is set above $2 billion now, he said.
Winward reviewed the district’s fund expenditures, with its general fund and salaries and wages continuing to provide the majority of its services. Bond funds increased slightly to 17% of its total with expected maintenance needs anticipated, he said.
The opening fund balance for FY24 is expected to be $9.3 million with projected revenues of $79.7 million and projected expenses at $80.6 million. Winward said there will be some vacancy savings to help, but ultimately the deficit of $946,600 is smaller than previously anticipated. CCSD’s ending fund balance, then, is $8.3 million, or 10.4% of its expenditures, and that must be higher than 4%, and he said 10% is favorable although he preferred 12 to 16%.
New positions to be added to the general fund to help fill staffing or safety needs include four secondary campus monitors, two dedicated in-school suspension positions at both district middle schools, two teachers on special assignments or deans, one school resource officer, four elementary teachers and 12 elementary paraprofessionals. Other positions that were moved to the general fund as a result of sunsetting ESSER funds were one work-based learning coordinator as well as one counselor at Carson High School.
School board members also approved renewal of its agreement with Chartwells, its food service management consultant, from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024, for an administrative fee not to exceed $6,036 per month for 10 months and a management fee not to exceed .0966 cents per meal with funding to be paid out of its nutrition fund.
CCSD first named Chartwells as its nutrition services vendor in May 2020. The U.S. Department of Agriculture allows school districts to establish agreements with food service management companies for up to five years but mandates that they go out to bid after that.
“We’ve been very pleased with the services Chartwells has provided, especially this last year where we’ve been out from under the dark cloud of COVID and starting to return to normal,” Winward said.
Winward said Chartwells has provided a variety in its meal choices and nutrition education at some of its sites. He added the administration also has been ahead of schedule, showing at least a $20,000 profit.
The board approved the amended budget and the food services agreement in 6-0 votes, with Trustee Joe Cacioppo absent Tuesday.
The regular school board meeting scheduled for July 11 has been canceled. The next meeting will be July 25.