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Board Approves Balanced Budget for 2021-22

July 8, 2021

The Lindbergh Schools Board of Education voted 6-0 on June 30 to approve a balanced budget for the 2021-22 school year with $83.1 million in operating revenues and expenditures, $12.5 million in debt revenue and $76.9 million in Prop R expenditures.

Supporting Strategic Goals

The strategic goals in the district’s Compass Plan guide budget development each year. The district works to accomplish these goals by adopting a hybrid zero-based budgeting process, and examining expenditures line-by-line to find efficiencies and reduce waste. Over the past three years, this analysis has identified close to $1.3 million in annual savings that can be reallocated to meet district goals. In addition, the district is promoting responsible use of taxpayer dollars over time by allowing principals and district leaders to request the ability to carry over funds from one budget year to the next. This allows leaders to save for larger purchases that benefit students.

COVID-19 Expenditures

Nationwide, school districts increased spending during the 2020-21 school year to meet the demands of COVID-19 and prevent spread of the virus in schools. To date, Lindbergh Schools has received approximately $5 million in federal ESSER funds to offset one-time expenses such as adding 26 positions including building assistants, nurses and contact tracers; and purchasing cleaning supplies. This is a significantly lower reimbursement rate than many school districts and is based on demographic data in the community.

The district will begin the 2021-22 school year with a lower fund balance due to COVID-19 expenditures, but still remains in a strong fiscal position. Maintaining adequate reserves is important to help the district manage cash flow, manage funding volatility, address unexpected costs, save for larger purchases and obtain higher credit ratings. Most importantly, adequate reserves allow the district to pay all of its bills throughout the year, without borrowing money to make payroll.

Budget Process

During the board meeting, Chief Financial Officer Joël Cracchiolo explained that the district budget is a working document that will be reviewed by the Board of Education on a monthly basis and updated as required throughout the year. Previously, during the Board of Education’s budget workshop on April 27, Cracchiolo worked with board members to explain how budget priorities are determined and ensure that they reflect the board’s established goals and objectives. The district expects that budget adjustments will continue to be required due to the ongoing economic impact of COVID-19.

The Finance Advisory Committee, formed in 2018-19, will continue to meet monthly during each school year. This committee includes patrons, administrators and board members who provide feedback on the budget each month.

Tax Rate

Lindbergh’s local blended tax rate is estimated at $3.91, $3.08 for operations and $.83 for debt, for 2021-22. The operating rate pays for day-to-day expenditures, and the debt service rate, which pays for principal and interest on debt for capital improvements. Voters approved Prop R in April 2019, a $105 million no-tax-rate-increase bond issue that did not increase the debt service tax rate of .83 cents and is funding renovation of LHS and safety improvements districtwide. Based on current assessed value data estimates which will not be final until August, Lindbergh, in cooperation with area school districts, estimates at 7% growth in assessed valuation. The district will roll back its tax rate in compliance with the state Hancock Amendment to hold taxpayers harmless from this increase.