Carson school district reduces deficit in forecast

Carson City School District administration building.

Carson City School District administration building.

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The Carson City School District’s 2024-25 budget is taking shape, Chief Financial Officer Spencer Winward reported Tuesday.

The projected deficit that had expected to be $1.1 million two weeks ago is down to about $950,000 because of savings from the early retirement program.

At least 27 employees, including 15 certified and 12 classified, announcing their intent to retire this year will generate an additional $500,000 savings. Four elementary school teaching positions will provide an additional $350,000 in savings, and there will be increased interest earnings of about $500,000 savings, Winward said.

Between expenses, insurance premiums and energy costs, the tentative budget is expected to be presented in the coming weeks.

Winward reported on Feb. 27 that the total general revenue was expected to be $80.3 million. But staffing positions generally make up between 85 to 90 percent of the school district’s costs. Superintendent Andrew Feuling said there are some adjustments to make as Carson City’s ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) funding winds down, which is expected to be September this year.

Approximately 10.5 full-time employee (FTE) positions have been reduced to 9.75 FTEs and remain partially funded, Winward said.

Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) positions such as curriculum coordinators, a work-based learning coordinator, a learning strategist and interventionist and other positions including an administrative assistant II and distance education assistant add up to approximately $895,000, Winward said.

The four positions that had been reduced are because enrollment is smaller in Carson City’s elementary classes than its secondary classes, and Winward said not as many teachers are needed to fill roles in those lower levels.

“We’ll still maintain average class size ratios across the district,” he said.

Trustee Molly Walt asked whether the district ever strives to reach for a zero deficit. Winward said theoretically, it could, but doing so prevents it from fulfilling its most important obligation to the community.

“The easiest thing to do that is we look at not filling positions that are not essential to our mission of educating children, and we could bring that in,” Winward said.

“…Yes, that would be great and it would look nice on paper to say, ‘Look, we have a zero-dollar deficit or the opposite, ‘Hey, we think we’ll save a million dollars,’ and people will be looking at us, ‘Well, why, why are you trying to save money? You’re trying to educate kids.’ So, we would never really try to have and have a positive budget, a non-deficit.”

Trustee Laurel Crossman said by sustaining a deficit, districts can send a message to legislators about the cost of education.

Feuling said CCSD is in a strong position when it is examined by ratings agencies. The district received a clean opinion from David Silva from its auditing firm Silva, Sceirine and Associates during its most recent audit in December.

If the district were worse off, it would have to prepare to add to its fund balance next year, but it is not at this point now, he said.


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