During a coronavirus update provided to LISD trustees at their May 14 meeting, Chief Financial Officer Elaine Cogburn said the savings stems from the closure of school campuses and switch to remote learning.
Cogburn said $375,000 in school supplies and $277,000 in utilities accounted for the largest drops in expenditures. She said the district is still waiting for the final allocation of funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Cogburn said she is urging district employees to “retrain their brains” and view purchasing for the 2020-21 school year through a different lens.
“We don’t know what the fall looks like,” Cogburn said. “Maybe we don’t need as much paper and Wite-Out and pens, but we need more online resources.”
LISD officials said they are researching several education options—from normal classroom instruction to 100% remote learning to hybrids of the two—for the 2020-21 school year, and they will be discussed at trustee meetings in June.
Later in the May 14 meeting, interim Chief Technology Officer Laurelyn Arterbury corroborated Cogburn’s view by detailing the increase in technology services since coronavirus concerns closed LISD campuses after spring break and through the end of the 2019-20 school year.
From spring break to mid-May, help desk calls to technology services had nearly tripled to 3,774 calls compared to the same period in 2019. Support tickets had also increased to 4,168 compared to 3,293 during the same period, according to Artebury.