GREEN RIVER — During the Sweetwater County School District (SCSD) No. 2 Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night, Business Manager Chris Dean provided an early budget projection for the upcoming fiscal year.
Since the Wyoming Legislature failed to take action on a bill that would have cut the $300 million deficit in K-12 education the state is facing, the school district is receiving a temporary breather in terms of balancing the budget.
Dean said the Average Daily Membership (ADM), which refers to the average number of students enrolled within a district, has decreased by 180.5 students in one year. She believes 86 of those students transferred to virtual learning, a different district, or are being homeschooled. Though Dean thinks the district will get some of those students back next school year, that still leaves 94 students who have left the area.
The three-year rolling average ADM loss is 84.9 students, she said, which equates to a loss of $1 million in funding given to the district.
Dean projects the net reduction in funding to be about $1.1 million entering the 2021-2022 school year. However, attritional savings that go along with the district’s voluntary retirement program is about $1.127 million.
In addition to the attritional savings, Dean estimates that the school district will receive about $4.3 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds, or “Biden money”. Though there are still budget issues to figure out, Dean said that leaves the district in a pretty good place.
Board Chairman Steve Core said he believes about 20 percent of that money will be earmarked for specified purposes, but the rest will have “few strings attached.”
“Financially, this school district is in really great shape, in my opinion,” Core said.
Core also addressed the Legislative session that just concluded last week, saying public education took a beating. He said there were a lot of “attacks” and “inaction.”
“Our kids, our employees, our teachers, our administrators, and your school board members took a big beating in Cheyenne in my opinion,” Core said.
Core added that the “school board knows what’s going on in Green River schools.” He assured the community and the district employees that the district does not overpay teachers and administrators.
“We pay you what you earn, and I’m proud of that. I think our average teachers salary is $55,000. The State of Wyoming gives us $38,000 to fund our teachers, and we’re paying 55. I’m proud of that,” Core said.