The Pattonville Board of Education on June 9 approved a $100 million operating budget for the 2020-2021 school year.
For the first time in seven years, the district will likely have a net deficit of $1.4 million due to lower than anticipated revenues resulting from COVID-19 impacts on the economy. The deficit will be offset by one-time federal relief funds from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act and savings in the 2019-2020 budget that will be placed in the district’s reserves. The majority of the deficit is due to state revenues that have declined sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, investment income is declining due to drops in current interest rates, and reduced income is anticipated from Pattonville programs that depend on student participation, such as preschool and food service.
“We are being cautious in our budgeting due to the uncertainty surrounding the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ron Orr, chief financial officer. “We will closely monitor the situation throughout the year and remain conservative in our expenditures as we focus on meeting our students’ needs during what is sure to be an usual school year.”
The 2020-2021 budget was established based on several factors:
- Increase in health costs - The rising cost of health insurance continues to be a major concern nationally, but due to proactive measures in prior years, the district had four consecutive years of 0% increases in health and dental insurance, followed by 7% and 6% during the last two school years. Health insurance costs for the upcoming school year are anticipated to rise by 4.8%. Pattonville has been able to reduce some of its health care costs by opening employee health care clinics in partnership with the Parkway and Francis Howell school districts. Operating the clinics saved the district 20 cents for every dollar spent on health care at the clinic.
- Three-year agreement with staff - The upcoming school year will mark the second year of a three-year agreement in which teachers and support staff receive an overall 3.6% increase in salary and benefits each year; however, the actual cost to the district is lower due to staff retirements and resignations, many of them due to a separation incentive plan (SIP) offered in the 2018-2019 school year. As a result of the SIP and small increases in health insurance costs, the actual increased cost of salary and benefits will be approximately 2.65% over the length of the three-year agreement.
- No change in property values - Pattonville’s revenues are based on the assessed value of property in the district, as set by the St. Louis County assessor’s office. Since this is a non-reassessment year, property values will remain unchanged until the next year.
- Capital spending on high-priority needs - The new budget includes the lease purchase of 20 new school buses, replacing student and teacher devices and other technology purchases, funding for cultural proficiency and equity work, energy improvements in the district and miscellaneous maintenance and repairs at district campuses.
Find out more.
View Pattonville’s budget document at bit.ly/PSDbudget20-21.