The impact of COVID-19 on school finances hits on both revenues and expenditures, Chief School Business Official Jessica Donato said.
The district has faced many challenges during school closures due to the pandemic and will face additional challenges and expenses to mitigate student and staff health risks when school reopens in August.
The biggest impact from the pandemic will be lower-than-expected property tax revenues for the next two years due to a drop in the Consumer Price Index, which is tied to the amount the district can collect. In addition, property tax revenues may be delayed and the percentage of uncollected taxes may rise. Sales of new homes are expected to slow, which reduces impact fee revenues. Interest rate revenues have also declined.
The district did not spend as much on substitute teachers, transportation or supplies due to the school closure. For the coming year, new expenses for supplies and salaries will be incurred for daily deep cleaning, additional safety supplies and signage.
Financial projections indicate these pressures will result in a deficit of approximately $400,000, in addition to $1.3 million of reserves being used for capital projects. The district will, however, maintain fund reserves equal to about 47 percent of the annual budget.
Members of the board agreed the deficit spending, along with a forecast of revenues growing slower than pre-COVID-19 projections may cause the district to hold off on some future capital improvements.
This year’s projects, including an upgrade to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system for Meadowbrook School and a STEM lab renovation for Northbrook Junior High are on schedule to be completed by the start of the school year. The district just received a $50,000 school maintenance grant for the Meadowbrook project.