District Superintendent Alicia Henderson shared sobering news with the school district’s Budget Advisory Committee on Thursday, April 16, during an online meeting watched by 80 members of the staff and community.
Due to the pandemic, various state and county officials are advising the district to plan for reduced property tax collections and reduced funding from the state in 2020-2021. The district is also expecting a decline in enrollment. The projected budget reductions total almost $6.5 million to keep the district solvent.
Prior to the pandemic, Aberdeen was already preparing for reductions of $2 million next year due to declining enrollment and funding inequities under the state’s funding model that impacts property-poor districts like Aberdeen the hardest.
Employees make up more than 80 percent of the district’s budget. Dr. Henderson shared that she will be taking a resolution to the Board of Directors at the Tuesday, April 21 (remote online) public meeting seeking a directive to prepare for a “reduced educational program.”
Dr. Henderson said Aberdeen must prepare for the expected shortfall as it would not be prudent to build a budget based on the hope of future funding to offset the impact of the pandemic.
“We need to budget for the worst and hope for the best” when it comes to revenue that might be forthcoming to offset the needed reductions, she told the Budget Advisory Committee.
The committee met for 2.5 hours, but due to the amount of financial material presented to explain the current situation, there was not much time for comment in the online meeting format.
Committee members will be sharing their views and insights with Superintendent Henderson as they process the presentation in the coming days. The presentation can be accessed by clicking HERE. All interested patrons are invited to review the material and offer feedback and comment to Dr. Henderson at [email protected].