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SJSD board talks budgets during Zoom meeting

Board members say they are concerned about possible cuts in state funding and the ability of people to pay property taxes due to the coronavirus economic shutdown.

Posted: Apr 27, 2020 11:09 PM
Updated: Apr 28, 2020 9:39 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)  -- Board members with the St. Joseph School District had their regular meeting on Monday via Zoom due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Board president Seth Wright said due to possible funding issues, both at the state and local levels, there could be some serious issues ahead when trying to plan for spending, especially on capital projects.

"What are we looking like if people can't pay their property taxes, which is half of our revenue?" Wright asked the board.  "I divided up our 'have to haves,' the 'needs,' and the 'wants.' We aren't going to get any of our wants. We aren't going to get some of the needs right now, especially in the next year or so."

The State of Missouri is looking at up to a $700 million shortfall in the coming year. Local administrators are expecting some cuts to K-12 education coming, especially in 2022 and 2023. They also said they will have to watch enrollment numbers.

Superintendent Doug Van Zyl said the coronavirus shutdown has made administrators more aware of the need for technology updates in the district. He said he's become aware of how many students do not have the needed laptops or tablets to use for learning.

Online learning will continue through May 15th.

Van Zyl said that during the time the school buildings have been closed the district has still continued to supply meals for students. He said that they have provided more than 90,000 meals since the schools closed in March.

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