School board waits for other budget shoe to drop
Despite not knowing quite what their revenues are going to be, Douglas County School Board trustees approved a $90.8 million budget on Tuesday.
“We still don’t have an answer on what the Legislature is going to fund the old Nevada plan at,” Superintendent Teri White said. “We don’t know if our per pupil allocation is going up or staying the same. If it goes up, we will amend our budget and that will be a good thing for two years.”
State law requires that local governmental entities, including the school district, approve their budgets in May. Meanwhile the Nevada Legislature rarely completes its budget work before the session ends in June.
The school district receives money from the state based on the number of students enrolled.
According to the budget, this year’s weighted enrollment was 6,696, down from 2018.
However, district officials are estimating next year’s school enrollment will climb slightly to 5,707 students.
The district expected to receive $5,933 per student bringing its basic state support to $33.8 million.
The state share is reduced by the local school support tax and property tax raised in Douglas County, so the district would receive. $9.7 million from the state, depending on what the Legislature decides in the coming weeks.
The 85-cent per $100 assessed valuation the district receives in property tax amounts to $25.4 million, which helps support the $63.5 million general fund.
But looming on the horizon is the New Nevada Education Funding Plan that would provide school districts with $1,200 a student for improving special education, English learners and poorer students.
White said funding that plan could blow an $8 million hole in the budget in 2021-22 when it goes into place.
“With the new plan, we don’t know anything,” she said. “They’re taking our local money and sweeping it into a state account and redistributing it across the state, and that’s where the $8 million number comes from.”
White said the proposal is to run the two plans simultaneously.
She said the district didn’t budget for the governor’s promised 3-percent increase, since they have no idea whether that will come to pass.
Plans are also before the Legislature to shift marijuana money that had been going to the state’s rainy day fund to education.