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Budget breakdown: School board hears about pandemic’s effect on annual budget

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | Mar 26, 2021


CHARLES TOWN — The Jefferson County Board of Education, at its regular meeting on Monday, received a detailed budget report from Beth Marrone, treasurer and chief business officer for the school system.

In the meeting, Marrone highlighted current fiscal information, as well as offered a look into the fiscal year 2022 budget cycle.

“All revenue is expected to come in as planned,” Marrone said, while presenting a slide presentation of where the dollars are falling in the current fiscal year. She specifically indicated property taxes are on target, with an uptick in the amount of taxes paid to date. The expected revenue from personal property taxes is budgeted to come in at $44,714,719, with more than $29,000 of that amount already in hand. In addition to property taxes, the school budget consists of revenues from state sources set to come in at $59,272,534 for FY21; $600,000 from Medicaid; and an additional $1,754,837 from miscellaneous sources that include the table game referendum dollars and indirect costs. All of these dollars bring the FY21 budget to $106,342,089.

According to Marrone, many expenditures were down due to the pandemic, including salary items, because of remote learning environments. She also told board members there has not been as high a claim usage for insurance, which could translate into a carryover for next year. There has been no worker’s compensation usage thus far this year; CARES Act funds have covered much of the unemployment claims for the year.

Data also suggests lower usage of energy, waste management and other fixed costs than in a traditional year, Marrone said. Supply lines are also coming in under budget, along with books and periodicals. The total projected budget for all of these expenditures was set at $24,969,263 in the FY21 budget; however, actuals at this point in the year are showing expenditures at only $12,218,116. Encumbered funds add in just over $8 million, with a balance remaining of just over $4.5 million.

Board member Mark Osbourn asked if additional funds could be set aside for fields that will need to be created or revamped over the next 10 years.

Marrone said that, while athletic fields have been part of a discussion on savings, there are other areas that will require funding, including roofs, vehicles and HVAC systems.

“We are having that conversation,” Marrone responded to Osbourn. “It is a high priority that we are looking at. We are looking at total capital expenditure costs.”

Marrone then began to discuss the upcoming fiscal year 2022, saying that departments at this point are evaluating balances and planning for the upcoming year.

“For the most part, we will look at FY19 and FY18 for trend data to plan for 2022,” Marrone said, explaining this was due to unusual nature of the past school year. “Our plan is that carryover will allow us to address decline in student enrollment and look at a rebound of student enrollment next year.”

The decrease of student enrollment due to the pandemic has impacted revenue from the state aid formula, Marrone added, stating it is about $3.8 million down in revenue.