(Last Updated 7/21/20)
Our school district is facing a significant financial challenge. We are operating with a deficit, which means we have to borrow money to meet our payroll. We are in our second year of Statutory Operating Debt, which means we have a negative fund balance. We developed a plan with the state to address our financial situation, and we are working hard to implement it. We will overcome these challenges, and our students and our communities will continue to be well-served.
How did we get here?
Revenue has not kept up with increased costs
- Federal funding
- Only contributes 3.7% of our budget
- Costs of special education
- GFW pays roughly $1,000,000 more than what we receive from the state for special education
- Federal government only pays roughly 15% of excess costs for special education
- State and local funding
- State revenue has not kept pace with inflation
- Our revenue is less than our neighbors as total school taxes in the GFW school district are currently the lowest in the area
All this has meant that our expenses have been greater than our revenues. With shortfalls in federal, state and local funding, GFW schools resorted to using fund balance to stabilize finances, but it wasn’t enough. We’re not alone, school districts across the state have turned to voters to provide additional revenue through an operating levy referendum. In fact, several of our neighboring districts are considering running a referendum in 2020 or 2021.
We have a lot to be proud of. Our teachers are incredibly caring and go above and beyond to serve our students. 90% of students agree that their teachers really care about them and the graduation rate has improved over recent years to be 90%.
- During Distance Learning, teachers and support staff provided distanced visits to students at their homes and provided as much one on one support time as possible while also assisting in the daily lunch distribution and childcare for critical workers.
- We offer 18 college credits in GFW buildings with a variety of options offered to students.
- 2020 Graduates earned $163,690.00 in college scholarships from foundations.
- Low math testing scores in 2018 were greatly improved after a refocused curriculum approach. 22% in 2018, 44% in 2019.
While we have budget issues that must be addressed, the district is always looking for ways to reduce expenses and increase revenue including:
- Elementary Read-A-Thon that raised more than $10,000 both in 2018 and 2019 for classroom materials
- Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant that allowed the purchase of chromebooks for all 1st-6th grade students.
- Eliminated teaching positions to save money at lower enrollment levels
- Administrative restructuring saving a projected $70,759 per year beginning FY 2021