Summit School District sees revenue increases as school enrollment goes up
Unexpected funds and savings from staff shortages help district with increases in curriculum supplies
The Summit School District is benefiting from around $1.2 million in unanticipated revenue as an enrollment increase means more per-pupil funding.
The school board voted unanimously Jan. 27 to approve a revised 2021-22 budget that included added revenue from the enrollment increase. The nearly 5% jump in enrollment from 2020-21 to 2021-22 generated $999,400 in unanticipated revenue for the district, Chief Financial Officer Kara Drake said at the meeting.
Another $175,000 came from an increase in state funding for English language learners and an additional $13,581 in small changes to revenue were added to the district’s budget.
The money allowed the district to increase its budgeted revenue to $43,864,824 while keeping its expenditures budget at $44,682,377. Interim Superintendent Roy Crawford said the budget changes are all “good news” for the district, as it continues to navigate its way through the pandemic.
The unexpected revenue, combined with savings from staffing shortages, is helping the district fund increases in curriculum supplies. The district originally budgeted $177,000 for supplies in its general fund but found that another $100,000 for science and $450,000 for English/Language Arts materials at the middle and high school levels were needed.
The district had 43 open positions as of Feb. 6, each of which contribute savings for the district. That money has helped cover the costs of the materials, Drake said.
Although the district is able to cover the financial costs of added supplies, some board members worried that the numbers seemed too high.
“We’re very fortunate that we’re in such a good position with our student enrollment going up, but, wow, that feels a little bit like a blind spot,” Board President Kate Hudnut said.
The increase in spending for curriculum largely has to do with timing, Drake said. In past years, the district would choose materials to purchase in the spring and then order them in the summer. While that process allowed the district to know how much items would cost, it often meant teachers didn’t get ahold of materials until days before school started.
Now, the district chooses materials in the middle of the year and orders them in the spring, allowing teachers the time to get familiar with the materials before they have to start using them.
Crawford said the board may want to re-evaluate its process for ordering supplies when it discusses the budget for the 2022-23 school year.
“We’ve had in-depth conversations about that because — I’m being blunt — it’s not OK,” he said.
The board’s decision to revise its 2021-22 budget to reflect the increase in revenue is part of an effort to be more transparent with district finances, Crawford said. The revision was recommended by a finance committee, made up of three community members, all of whom felt it was important for budget changes to be reflected throughout the year.
“They felt unanimously that we should do a revised budget for transparency (and) to make it clear to the community,” he said. “They felt strongly about that.”
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