The Adams 12 Five Star Schools budget for the 2021-22 school year is not just bigger than last year’s, but prior years as well. Coming out of the pandemic, the district expects to have more revenue …
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The Adams 12 Five Star Schools budget for the 2021-22 school year is not just bigger than last year’s, but prior years as well.
Coming out of the pandemic, the district expects to have more revenue and more expenditures than it has had before. The district’s board unanimously voted to approve it at a June 16 meeting.
General fund revenue is currently budgeted at $414.9 million and total expenditures are $355.7 million. Revenue is up from last year’s budget, which was downsized due to the COVID-19 pandemic, by $33.7 million. However, total budgeted revenue and expenditures are also higher than pre-pandemic years.
The game-changer is state funding. Last year, Colorado significantly reduced state education funding in response to the pandemic. This year, the School Finance Act, which the legislature passed in May, increased average per-pupil funding by 9.7 percent, according to Chalkbeat. For Adams 12, that translated to an additional $21.2 million in “state equalization” revenue compared to last year.
In fact, the district expects to receive an additional $1.5 million from the state if the district’s enrollment projections for October materialize. The board will have to approve an amended budget in the middle of the 2021-22 school year after the district’s final enrollment numbers are tallied.
But the budget doesn’t include that $1.5 million. “I think it’s a plus to not have every penny budgeted and my hope is that as enrollment comes in at projection or higher, that will put less strain on the system,” said Adams 12 Superintendent Chris Gdowski at the June 16 meeting.
One reason is that the district is considering raising salaries for certain entry-level positions that it wants to potentially put that additional state money towards.
Looking even further towards the future, the board also discussed at the June 16 meeting a report showing future year financial projections. Revenues and expenditures are both expected to increase in the 2022-23 and 2023-24 years, altogether reducing the end-of-year general fund balance.
Some board members expressed concern about certain components of the projections, including declining enrollment, but acknowledged only so much can be done about it now. Board President Kathy Plomer said, “There’s no crystal ball, but as far as being very transparent with where we see things going with what our predictions are, I think this gives people a really good sense of what we have to work with.”
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