ConVal budget hearing scheduled for Tuesday

  • A ConVal School District bus. (Benji Rosen/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Benji Rosen

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/11/2021 4:19:10 PM
Modified: 1/11/2021 4:18:49 PM

ConVal’s public hearing on the 2021-2022 budget is scheduled for Tuesday night. The hearing follows last-minute rearrangements directed by the School Board on Jan. 5, when the Board voted for administrators to use trust fund dollars to cover about $600,000 of the total cost.

The proposed operating budget the operating budget is $50,298,177, which is a 4.04 percent increase over the current 2021 budget. The gross budget, excluding additional warrant articles, is $52,583,177 and includes the grant, special fund and food service expenses and is offset by equal amounts as projected revenue. It reflects a 2.63 percent increase over 2021. The operating budget for 2021 is $49,013,568, which is the sum of the operation budget and warrant articles to fund trusts, ConVal Business Administrator Lori Schmidt wrote.

Although there will be some enduring costs related to COVID-19 for the coming school year, Rizzo Saunders said the $3.1 million in unanticipated COVID-19 reopening costs related to the current 2020-21 school year are not expected to roll over in any way to the 2021-22 school year.

Costs associated with catching students up on lost learning during the pandemic and continuing remote learning options are two examples of COVID-19 related costs expected to continue in the coming school year, she said, and that those costs will be described and discussed at the hearing.

Of this year’s $3.1 million in unanticipated costs, just under $2 million has been covered through grants, retention of some unassigned fund balance via the state’s emergency order, and an encumbrance, according to Schmidt. “This leaves approximately $1.2 million left to be absorbed by the general fund,” she wrote on Friday.

Attorneys are still preparing briefs for the lawsuit to recoup losses from Monadnock Tent and Event, Rizzo Saunders said, and a  date has not yet been set for the suit’s next court appearance. The district opted to sue the local tent company after many of the large tents set up for outdoor classroom space were unable to be used due to a lack of required engineering documents.

Every item the administrators select to pay for with trust fund dollars per last week’s request from the School Board will be justified by the terms of the fund they’re drawing from, Rizzo Saunders said. Each of the school district’s trust funds have been established for specific costs, she said, such as those related to equipment, health, or special education. Each fund has rules about what it may or may not be used for, but broadly, some are specifically designed to steady the operational budget, preventing large peaks and valleys in costs between  years, Rizzo Saunders said, while others are for immediate costs that may not be expected, such as funds to repair a broken boiler.

The public can attend the hearing virtually via Zoom or in person at the SAU office. It starts at 5:30 p.m.


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