School budget shortfall down to $238,000 |

School budget shortfall down to $238,000

The news for the Douglas County School District budget wasn’t great, but it could have been much worse.

School board trustees approved a revised budget that had to make up $238,227 on Tuesday.

That’s much better than the $2 million shortfall the district was facing at one point. That day could well come again depending on the implementation of a new school funding formula by the state.

Under the Nevada Plan, every property owner in the state has paid 75 cents per $100 assessed valuation since 1983.

Nevada is home to 17 counties, each of which is its own school district. Funding for districts has been distributed by the state on a per pupil amount set by the Legislature and modified depending on local property tax collections.

At the end of the Legislature in June, the per pupil amount was set at $6,086 or $203 less than last year.

However, in 2019 the Legislature modified the Nevada Plan to provide weighted funding for students that cost more to educate, including English language learners and special education students.

Senate Bill 543 was approved by both houses and signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak on June 14.

Called a pupil-centered funding plan, it would replace the Nevada Plan in 2021, and rural school districts generally oppose it because it would reduce their funding.

Superintendent Teri White said funding that plan could blow an $8 million hole in the budget in 2021-22 when it goes into place.

On Tuesday, she said the school district won’t see any of the 3 percent increase promised by Sisolak during the legislative budget session.

Over the next two years, the two plans will run simultaneously.

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.

The school district’s budget is $91.7 million. There are the equivalent of 705 full-time employees, of which 348 are classroom teachers.

The district had 5,696 students at the end of 2019, and expects a slight increase of 11 students by the end of 2020.