The rate is about $0.02 lower than the approved 2019-20 rate, and when accounting for property value inflation, it is the lowest the district has presented since the 1980s, according to Johnny Hill, the assistant superintendent of financial, business and auxiliary services.
However, as the district heads into a new school year, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has created unforeseen fiscal challenges, Hill said.
In July, officials anticipated a balanced budget for the next fiscal year. However, the district is now facing an estimated net deficit of about $1.8 million, which Hill said was predominately triggered by a decline in enrollment.
Since the last budget discussion, LTISD has seen a decrease of about 200 students, Hill said, adding the district is also anticipating decreases in other local revenue streams, specifically fall sports and facility rentals.
Due to the nature of the pandemic, the district will likely decrease the capacity of its football stadium, which will cause a $250,000 drop in revenue, according to Hill.
Despite the budget shortfall, Hill reassured board members that LTISD is still in a strong financial position.
“I do believe that we will make adjustments as we go through the year,” Hill said. “But we’re also very well financially positioned to take care of any kind of unforeseen events.”
Within the past 10 years, Hill said the district has faced a budget deficit twice, which is why LTISD has built up a healthy fund balance.
“Even though we start out with a $1.8 million deficit, it is possible as we make adjustments and go through the year that we can make that up, and we’ll make every effort to do that,” Hill said.