Carson City School District prepares to submit tentative budget to taxation department
Carson City School District is on track to submitting its tentative budget to the state Department of Taxation for the April 15 deadline after adjusting for expected staff reassignments, reductions and attrition for fiscal year 2020-21.
There is still room for change before the final budget is due in June, but the current tentative document shows the original $2.4 million deficit potentially has been eliminated and the budget has been balanced.
The original revenue projections from Taxation indicated the district would grapple with a possible $2.4 million deficit, a number that had climbed by mid-March to about $2.6 million. Preliminary general fund reduction considerations included curriculum, technology replacement, teachers on special assignment jobs, work-based learning coordinator positions, bus replacements and other associated costs. Further reductions now include about 100 certified and classified positions expected after retirement or resignation, new sources of funding to be identified, positions to be reassigned or attrition that can be anticipated for the following school year.
District chief financial officer Andrew Feuling told the district’s Board of Trustees at Tuesday’s meeting that assumptions about revenues from the Government Services Tax, Ad Valorem property tax and Local School Support Tax assumptions either are conservative or remain in question.
Carson City’s per-pupil guarantee of $7,285 stands with a flat enrollment of approximately 7,740. General fund staffing has seen an increase of $1.7 million with health insurance costs going up. The district’s operating budget so far is not seeing any increases, Feuling said.
Still looming are certain declines in state revenues being impacted by COVID-19, Feuling reported to the board, particularly as the closure of the casinos directly affect approximately 40 percent of Nevada’s general fund.
Sales tax numbers are dipping by 30 percent, creating a $450 million loss to the schools, he said.
Gov. Steve Sisolak’s order directing state agencies to prepare for possible budget cuts does reach the educational level. The Distributive School Account is reduced by $81.6 million and possibly up to $104.8 million, the Appeal previously reported.
The Local Schools Support Tax, however, providing $1.5 billion annually to schools in the state, also represents a drop of 30 percent to schools or $450 million, and in the Nevada Plan formula, with a drop in this LSST revenue, the state would be required to put in more money to meet its guarantee to replace that funding. The state would have to make up the difference, but the Legislature does not have $450 million in reserve, Feuling told trustees.
Despite Sisolak’s notification to state agencies to make ready for cuts, Feuling said, it’s most likely now that the state will stay at the $7,285 per pupil funding amount for school districts rather than reducing that rate. He said the last time he could find Nevada changed that figure in the middle of a biennium was 1993.
Meanwhile, nearly all capital projects planned for the coming year will not be completed, Feuling said. The district’s capital improvement plan will be updated at the final budget hearing in May. Feuling said there were expenditures already approved for the current year, but most projects that are ongoing will not likely be completed this year. Projects will be determined with director of operations Mark Korinek and what is likely to carry over by the final budget hearing in May, Feuling said. The plan likely would include the Eagle Valley Middle School remodel and the possibility for the former Capital Christian center purchase, the Snyder Avenue facility the school district has been considering as a potential school add-on in recent months.
Once the tentative budget is submitted on April 15, the Board of Trustees will hold its budget hearing for approval on its final budget on May 26 and will be required to submit to the Department of Taxation by June 8.