BELOIT—The School District of Beloit is proposing a $127,321,516 budget for the 2020-2021 school year, down from the $129,209,445 budget in 2019-2020.

There is a $3,258,627 shortfall, due primarily to declining enrollment. To address the shortfall, the funds will be taken from the fund balance, according to information Executive Director of Business, Human Resources and Operations Jo Ann Armstrong.

The budget was presented for the first time to the public at Tuesday’s planning and oversight committee meeting. The public hearing for the budget will be at 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 28 followed by a board meeting where board members will vote on whether to adopt the budget as presented. The numbers are an estimate and could change as the state aid will be certified on Oct. 15 by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

The current operations budget for the School District of Beloit in 2020-2021 is $108,109,033 and the projected revenue for 2020-2021 is $104,850,406, resulting in a shortfall of $3,258,627.

The mill rate will be $10.12 per $1,000 of assessed valuation meaning a homeowner with a $100,000 home would pay $1,012 in taxes for the year.

Taxpayers will pay less than last year. Last year the mill rate was $10.30 per $1,000 of assessed valuation meaning a homeowner with a $100,000 home paid $1,030 in taxes for the year.

Armstrong explained the district receives $10,031 in per pupil aid for each student. With a rolling three-year average of 268 less students, used to calculate funding, the district would be losing roughly $2,688,461.

Health insurance premiums also went up 6% for a rough estimate of just under $1 million in added costs; and there is added $800,000 for all salary increases.

The recommendation to address the shortfall for this year is to use $3,258,627 million of fund balance.

It would reduce the fund balance to $16,075,853 and would be 17.42% of the general fund expenditures. All districts aim to be between 14 and 25% so it’s a safe balance, Armstrong said.

This year, Armstrong said the district will have to find ways to streamline services and processes so there isn’t a similar shortfall in the coming years.

At https:/ copies of the school district budget are available for the public.

The district budget does reflect over $3,000,000 in CARES funding that the district is allocated.

To receive the CARES funding the district must continue to pay its employees and contracts during the closure to the greatest extent possible. The district has honored its contracts with vendors such as Durham Transportation, TC Networks and Aramark.

“Our district partnerships with these vendors have allowed the district to be flexible to the needs of our students, staff, and community,” Armstrong said.

She said Aramark Food Service has continued to run meal service to the community since the closure in March 2020. Durham Transportation employees have worked the meal distribution sites, provided meal delivery service, and delivered instructional materials to district students. TC Networks, the district technology service provider, has maintained the district network infrastructure, created a student help ticketing system, distributed devices and upgraded the district wireless network to provide outdoor WIFi access to all buildings.

The district has ordered replacement technology to provide staff and students with devices that support distance learning. Unfortunately, she said, like so many other school districts, supply of these items is limited.

The district, she said, anticipates the arrival of new Chromebooks, iPads, and computers in mid-October. The CARES funding is allocated for use on these items as well as facility needs Personal Protective Equipment, air handling improvements and learning management systems.