While the Challis School District will get less money from the state because of the coronavirus-caused recession, it received a bump from the federal government in response to the virus.
District Business Manager Shawna Getty said the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act put an extra $70,000 in the school district’s coffers. The district also received an extra $40,000 from the federal government’s Title One program.
Superintendent Lani Rembelski explained the money from the coronavirus relief was given to the district through the Title One program. The federal government told Rembelksi the money is earmarked for professional development, which is why she put it toward paying the district’s paraprofessionals and funding an extended kindergarten program.
The district also saw a bump in its local revenue, according to the district’s summary statement for the proposed 2020-2021 budget. This fund has multiple sources, Getty said, and the increase is a result of the district receiving money from its cellphone tower in Stanley, donations to the district, the district’s lunch program and other sources.
While the increases are good news, Getty said they come with cuts in other sources of revenue. Because the state is tightening its belt in response to the recent economic downturn, the district’s state funding took a noticeable slump.
“Our technology fund took a huge hit,” Getty said.
The state froze pay for technology support staff, Getty said, and reduced the amount of content and curriculum available for technology-based education. The loss of state revenue also means the district has to put a tighter cap on its expenditures.
The budget summary statement shows a drop in supplies, materials and purchased services.
“We have less money coming in, so obviously we have less to spend,” Getty explained.
The district’s capital outlay fund, used to improve and maintain assets, also saw a noticeable drop. Getty explained that is an anomaly. The district used that fund last year to rewire Challis High School and improve its internet services. Getty said this year’s capital outlay fund returned to a more normal amount.
“It just depends on what projects are going on,” Getty said.
The school district budget hearing is open to the public and scheduled for 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 23 at Challis Elementary School.