Editor’s note: It is important to note that the numbers contained in this story are preliminary. The school district budget will be finalized at a later date.
Monday evening, the Chadron Public Schools Board of Education conducted a special meeting with regard to the 2021-22 school year budget.
Superintendent Ginger Meyer presented the preliminary budget draft, emphasizing that the numbers are fairly close to the past school year. She pointed out that valuation did go up about 2.5%, from $575,991,541 to $590,855,697.
Looking at the budget numbers, she said, the General Fund and Special Building Fund are up significantly. The General Fund increased 13.4% from $14,713,698 last year to $16,685,873. Special Building saw the largest percent increase at 37.37%, and the fund going from $507,380 to $696,991.
Meyer further explained these increases are to account for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) money the district will be receiving. The expected ESSER monies are $550,000 in the second round and $1.2 million in the third.
“It doesn’t mean we’re going to spend it all in this amount of time,” Meyer said, “but we did want to account for it in case we did spend some, because we have three years to spend that money.” She also noted if anything is going to be done with facilities, that same money needs to go through the Special Building Fund, accounting for the increase there.
As for property tax, the total asking is $6,203,984, up 2.58% from last year, though the district is staying “levy neutral” at $1.05. Of this, $0.998 is to the General Fund and $0.051 is to Special Building.
State aid did go up 3.91%, from $4,219,785 in 2020-21 to $4,384,714 in 2021-22.
Though she has some questions into the Nebraska Department of Education about the ESSER funds, Meyer is fairly comfortable with the numbers and will be providing more information as it becomes available.
Board Member Boone Huffman noted spending is down $150,000 from last year’s budget to the current, even though the preliminary numbers look “out of sight.” Board President Tom Menke said the spending being down is a credit to the district staff.
Other funds presented in the preliminary information are:
Depreciation: 2020-21, $708,274; 2021-22, $708,274
Activities: 2020-21, $600,000; 2021-22, $609,808; 1.63% increase
School Lunch: 2020-21, $620,000; 2021-22, $626,942; 1.12% increase
Cooperative: 2020-21, $78,000; 2021-22, $78,000
Student Fee: 2020-21, $34,186; 2021-22, $34,929; 2.17% increase
Totals: 2020-21, $17,216,538; 2021-22, $19,440,817; 12.63% increase
Cash Reserve: 2020-21, $1,600,000; 2021-22, $2,000,000; 25% increase