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$2.2 million dollars withheld from SJSD, leading to district-wide budget cuts

The state's withholding is forcing the district to adjust their budget and cut back on some previously planned renovations.

Posted: Jun 24, 2020 7:31 AM
Updated: Jun 24, 2020 10:42 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Monday night's budget meeting for the St. Joseph School District revealed a larger cut to the budget than expected.

The St. Joseph School District estimated $1 million dollars too short on state budget cuts. Now, the district is figuring out how to operate with $2.2 million dollars less in their wallet. 

“That was gonna be roughly $1.2 - $1.3 million dollars. When the reductions actually came in or withholdings, it was $2.2 million dollars. It was a million dollars more for this month. So, we’re also anticipating that will be the same for next month which makes roughly $2 million dollars in reduction from state aid,” said Dr. Van Zyl, St. Joseph School District Superintendent. 

The state's withholding due to the coronavirus shutdown is forcing the district to adjust their budget and cut back on some previously planned renovations. 

“Majority of that will come from our capital projects or fund 4 budget areas, so that’ll keep us from moving forward with some repairs of facilities and replacements that we needed to do,” said Dr. Van Zyl. 

The rest of the district's budget will be made up by cutting 5% across the board. Dr. Van Zyl said every department will be impacted, but the St. Joseph School District's cut won't affect staffing yet. 

“Really what we’re trying to do is manage our budget through the due processes without impacting our staff. Depending on how things continue to move forward, if the state says, ‘Hey, we’re gonna withhold in August, September, October,’ if they keep withholding from us, then that changes what we’re gonna have to do,” said Dr. Van Zyl. 

The superintendent said Monday night's adopted budget isn't set in stone, as it's likely to change with the changing environment. 

Dr. Van Zyl said the district remains optimistic last year's budget is enough to get them over this hurdle, “We feel pretty confident that the budget we developed this last year and for this coming year should be able to sustain us."

The St. Joseph School District said the real challenge they face are the questions surrounding what next year will bring.  

“What happens if we have a drop in student enrollment? What if they do continue to keep cutting dollars from us and it makes us deficit spend? If you have to start spending that down, it just makes it a much more difficult situation and some tough decisions would have to be made,” said Dr. Van Zyl. 

The school district said the hope is that Missouri's revenue will start to pick up, so education can get their share of the money. 

“If the state keeps losing dollars or not generating dollars, we won’t be able to get those dollars as well and then that is kinda like a snowball down a hill. It will just keep picking up speed and create more issues for us moving forward,” said Dr. Van Zyl. 

Dr. Van Zyl said if it weren't for residents passing last year's tax levy, the school district would be in a "real world of hurt." 

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Tuesday we had overcast skies for much of the day across northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri until the afternoon when we cleared out across the area. We will see a few more clouds late tonight into tomorrow morning then have lots of sunshine along with hot and humid conditions.
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