“We are overall as a district $600,000 negative, or at a deficit, because of this pandemic,” Drillette said in a May 18 presentation to the DSISD board of trustees. The meeting was likely one of Drillette’s last with the board, since he has announced he will leave the district for another opportunity.
A significant loss of revenue comes from the district’s child nutrition program, which is on pause with students out of school—with the exception of students who qualify for free meals. Drillette said the program had lost around $800,000 since schools closed their doors in March in favor of at-home learning during the coronavirus pandemic.
The nutrition program losses, combined with other losses, total nearly $1 million in lost revenue compared to budgeted expectations, according to Drillette. Some of these losses were offset by savings from reduced travel, fuel, utility and substitute teacher costs, as well as reduced food costs to the district, for a net loss of $600,000.
The financial effects of COVID-19 will be a point of consideration for the district as they move into the budget planning process. For a budget discussion planned for June 22, Drillette said he and staff are tentatively planning to recommend a 2% cost of living raise for employees, down from the 3-4% given in 2019.
“We would love to give more, but we also have to be aware of what’s coming,” Drillette said. “I think it’s a number that respects our employees and gives them a raise for next year, but it also respects the fact that we are going to have some financial challenges coming forward in the next few years as the state works through this pandemic crisis.”
The district’s 2019-20 budget includes about $62.5 million in revenues and roughly $63.2 million in budgeted expenditures. DSISD will proceed with budget discussion for the 2020-21 year at a meeting planned for June 22.