The Carson City School District is looking at a $1.3 million budget deficit for fiscal year 2018, officials announced at the school board meeting Tuesday.
Carson City School District Director of Fiscal Services Andrew Fueling presented the tentative budget for 2018 to the board, citing staffing costs, the School Resource Officers and Race to the Top as some of the highest expense considerations.
“We are looking at a deficit, it got better (from previous estimates) but it is still a significant number,” Fueling said.
An amended budget will be presented in December, which will give a final budget total for the district. Fueling said by December they may have new revenues coming in to offset the cost, however, the current estimate isn’t budgeted for paraprofessional costs for kindergarten to third grade, special ed staff, and supplemental wages.
“There is still a lot of work to be done,” Fueling said.
Despite the negative estimation, the school board still felt confident the district could overcome the budgetary issues. Even with the deficit, the district will still be left with a reserve of about $8 million.
“We are aware we have some end fund balance that’s healthy and I would rather have deficits than cut our programs,” said trustee Stacie Wilke-McCulloch. “I don’t have a problem with the deficit, we kind of knew what would happen and we could rather keep these projects so it wouldn’t be detrimental to us.”
Many believed there would still be plenty of time before the final budget to decrease the cost, especially with the Legislature still in session.
“I think most of us agree that these projects and things like the paraprofessionals are necessary enough,” said Vice President Ryan Green. “I think Gov. Sandoval would have a hard time turning down funding for education when we can approve a new stadium.”
The board also approved a new policy dealing with students and suicide.
Ann Wiswell, Carson City School District risk manager, introduced a new policy and regulation for how the schools handle a suicide before and after the act during the last school board meeting. The two will focus on creating guidelines for the schools to follow in relation to student suicide in order to help prevent suicide and create a safe space for students.
The regulation will be looking at intervention, prevention and postvention. Prevention will be to implement policy and educate staff; professional development for staff and ongoing training in risk factors, warning signs; and create youth suicide prevention programs for more peer to peer contact.
Intervention will include the schools screening and referring identified students at risk and refer them to the appropriate resources. Postvention will focus on actions taken at school with a suicide death and create guidelines to develop that plan that’s appropriate for students.
Several community and school officials — including Mayor Bob Crowell and Sheriff Ken Furlong — attended the meeting to express their support of the new policy.
“I want to compliment you,” Crowell said to the board. “When you pull back the curtains in Carson City, you see the underlying problems of people who are hurting. And as much good as there is here, we have to remember there are problems and this will go a long ways to targeting it in our community to help toward making it a happier and healthier place. I think you are doing the right thing.”
“We are committed to every student’s welfare and thank you for having the progressive courage to pursue this,” Furlong added.
The board adopted the new policy and regulation unanimously.
“I want to thank you Susan (Keema) and the staff for bringing this to us,” said school board member Ron Swirczek. “We are here for student achievement and life achievement and sometimes we forget life is stressful for these kids and we need to prepare an environment of support.”