Staff raises to be added to Aberdeen public school budget

ABERDEEN, S.D. (By Elisa Sand – Two percent raises are being added to the Aberdeen Public School District budget for the 2020-21 school year.

Finance Officer Tom Janish shared the budget with the school board Monday. Much of it was the same as the proposal presented in May, which included no increases for faculty and staff.

During the preliminary budget review, Janish told the board there was uncertainty about whether South Dakota schools would receive the 2% funding increase from the state because of the added expenses resulting from COVID-19 pandemic responses.

But Monday he said schools will receive the 2% funding increase. Following the meeting, he said he received word from the state after he’d published the district budget. So the bump in state funds wasn’t incorporated into the budget presented Monday. But it will be included when the budget is adopted by the school board in September.

Also included in the district budget is $836,542 in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding. That will be used for technology, buildings and grounds, and staff development, Janish said. Some of the money is also designated for the parochial school districts, which leaves about $600,000 for the public school district.

Superintendent Becky Guffin said there is also some additional federal stimulus funding that is expected through the state. She’s heard it might be made available as a competitive grant, but details have yet to be announced by Gov. Kristi Noem.

The district’s total general fund budget is $31.1 million, of which payroll is 85%. The district’s capital outlay budget is $7.5 million, used for building improvements and capital purchases. The special education budget is $9.3 million.

Janish said the 2019-20 budget finished a little better than anticipated. He said less money was spent this spring because students weren’t bussed to activities and athletic events as a result of COVID-19. Less was spent on utilities as well, he said. The savings were about 1% to 2% of the district’s budget. About 97% of the budget was spent, he said. Normally that’s closer to 98% to 99%.