Gilbert Public Schools adopts revised maintenance and operations budget of $263M

Lori Wood
Gilbert Public Schools Board Member Lori Wood makes a point about the district's budget balance carry forward during the governing board's May 4 meeting. (Screen capture from YouTube)

Gilbert Public Schools Board Member Lori Wood makes a point about the district's budget balance carry forward during the governing board's May 4 meeting. (Screen capture from YouTube)

Gilbert Public Schools’ final revised maintenance and operations budget for fiscal year 2020-21 is the largest to date for the year.

The third revision to $263.72M is about $5 million more than the adopted budget from June 2020, $11 million more than the first revision last fall and $3.2 million more than the second revision adopted in March. Maintenance and operations pays for the district’s day-to-day operations, including salaries.

The board approved the third revision unanimously at its May 4 work-study and brief board business meeting.

Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bonnie Betz and Finance Director Jackie Mattinen told the board during their presentation the growth came mostly from a larger budget balance carry forward, thanks to federal relief funding in response to the coronavirus pandemic; some recovery of enrollment after large initial losses; and an adjustment of funding on students who did distance learning this year.

Board Member Lori Wood said the board would typically like to see the district spend the money it receives closer to when it is received and keep a smaller budget balance carry forward, but the circumstances have made it an unusual year.


The carry forward was $11.04 million at the time of adoption last year but is $31.61 million in the latest adoption.

The district spent its last $2.3 million from a state enrollment stabilization grant this fiscal year after spending $12 million of it last year. It also received $2.3 million last fall from federal Elementary and Second School Emergency Relief, or ESSER, funds last fall, and another $9.7 million in a second round of ESSER funding in December.

It anticipates receiving up to another $20 million in a third round of ESSER later this month and will use $2 million of it this fiscal year on summer school to address learning loss during the pandemic.

Wood thanked the finance team for explaining how the totals were reached during each revision.

“It looks like there’s a lot of money, but yet we’ve had to make a lot of difficult decisions,” she said.

Board Member Jill Humpherys also expressed appreciation for the work the team did.

“Specifically, this year has been even harder than usual, and I think doing the current year budget is hard enough,” she said.

The budget revision also included a revised unrestricted capital budget of $16.7 million, up $1.7 million from adoption last June but down about $100,000 from the March revision. The capital budget pays for items like buildings, maintenance, technology and curriculum.
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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