Early school budget shows $2.8M revenue increase, enrollment drop

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Administrators for the Carson City School District liken early budget forecasting for the following fiscal year as throwing darts where it’s hard to be precise with ever changing conditions.

Spencer Winward, CCSD chief financial officer, said projections for FY25 bring a revenue increase of $2.8 million even as student enrollment declines loom.

Carson City’s average daily enrollment would fall from 6,995.5 in 2024 to 6,935.2 in 2025. State funding per pupil at this rate increases from $10,114, changing the adjusted base funding from $67.3 million to $70.1 million. Adding in other Pupil Centered Funding and other weighted funds such as English learner, at-risk and Gifted and Talented Education dollars, FY2025’s total general funds increase to $80.3 million, Winward said.

Expense assumptions show steps will be about $1 million and negotiated increases are about $700,000. Approximately 85% of the district’s costs are from salary and benefits, Winward said. There had been a jump in salaries this year from last year. Health insurance is going up mid-year with a $400,000 increase while other benefits are stable.

In non-staffing expenses, the district expects a POOL Pact insurance premium increase of $100,000 and utility increases as homeowners have seen, Winward said. Natural gas and electricity each will go up $100,000.

Other items include Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) full-time equivalent positions that have cost $940,000. There are approximately 10.15 positions now funded by ESSER.

“We are working and looking in every which best way on where they’re going to live still,” Winward said.

These positions include curriculum coordinators, work-based learning coordinators, distance education assistants and a grants administrative assistant, filled by individuals who have been funded by ESSER and are considered mission critical, Winward said.

Trustee Richard Varner asked when ESSER funds expire, and Winward said he believes those dollars run out at the end of this fiscal year but go 90 days beyond, or by September of this year. He said the goal is to move these positions to CCSD’s general or other funds to maintain current levels of service.

“We wouldn’t be able to fund any staffing out of that in next fiscal year,” he said. “If there are other expenses, we would have the first couple of months in next fiscal year to spend those within the constraints of the grant.”

Overall, Winward said, the district expects $80.3 million in total general fund revenue with $81.4 million in general fund expenditures, creating a projected $1.1 million deficit. However, additional adjustments can be expected with ESSER position absorption, staff turnover and non-staffing costs.

Board President Joe Cacioppo said he was glad the district remains fiscally solvent.

“We always talk about not being fans of deficit budget and whatnot, but I think what we’ve found over the years is you kind of plan for the worst and things come in better,” he said.

Trustee Mike Walker said it’s always important to remember at this stage, the budget remains hypothetical.

“We could have 500 students stop coming to school,” he said. “Hopefully that doesn’t happen, but that’s going to have a huge increase on the bottom line. We could have 500 kids move in. That’s why we do this multiple times throughout the year because right now, it’s not a deficit, it’s a projected deficit.

“The last few years, we’ve been very fortunate and things have changed at the last minute. I don’t want people to start panicking,” Walker said. “We’re just looking at the realities right now.”


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