Sunday, June 13, 2021

School officials in Troy consider budget amendment

The Western News | June 8, 2021 7:00 AM

Administrators with Troy Public Schools are considering amendments to the district’s budget to account for unforeseen expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Facing more stringent cleaning guidelines and intermittent shortages of staff due to quarantines, Superintendent Jacob Francom said the district had taken on more employees than previously expected. While federal aid has helped the district pay the salaries of these paraprofessionals, bus drivers and substitutes, administrators have struggled to fund the new employees’ retirement benefits within the bounds of the current budget.

School board members have determined a $40,000 adjustment to the elementary retirement fund and a $30,000 amendment to the high school retirement fund may be necessary to support the district through the current fiscal year, according to a release from the district.

To finance the adjustment, the board will consider a resolution to dip into the elementary and high school retirement fund reserves during a June 14 meeting. Francom said this reshuffling of funds is not out of the norm and, as of May 21, he was not even sure if the district would have to make the adjustment.

Last October, administrators took to social media seeking substitute teachers, classroom aides, bus drivers and custodians. In addition to offering wages higher than most districts, Troy officials promised bonuses for substitutes who worked for 30, 60 and 100 days.

To help pay these salaries, the district relied on federal monies from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) — distributed by former Gov. Steve Bullock last year — and a series of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds — allocated by the state Office of Public Instruction.

The district budgeted $47,691.63 of its CRF allotment for personal service salaries, $5,933.20 for employee benefits and $51,185.59 for professional and technical costs. The district set aside $35,000 of its ESSER I funds to pay for extra bus drivers, custodial personal and distance learning staff.

Administrators expected to spend $15,000 of the ESSER I monies to fund professional development and $7,000 to fund benefits.