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SJSD to reduce more than $2 million in budget cuts for 2020-2021 school year

The SJSD will take a $2.3 million budget reduction due to a major decrease in enrollment and the unforeseen expense of repairing the Central High School building back in August.

Posted: Oct 27, 2020 8:15 PM
Updated: Oct 28, 2020 9:43 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The Board of Education of the St. Joseph School District met on Monday evening to discuss many topics.

A particular topic that was discussed amongst the board was the annual budget.  

The financial administration recommended to the board to reduce the budget of $2.3 million for the rest of the year due to a shortfall of revenues.  The board accepted the recommendation. 

"This isn't something that just is going to happen overnight," said Dr. Doug Van Zyl, Superintendent of the St. Joseph School District. "We've got some time to be able to work through this process."

During the meeting, Dr. Edgar who is on the financial board, discussed that the district's fund balances are in pretty good standing,  where the district is able to hopefully mitigate the situation and manage it slowly. 

The announcement of reducing the yearly budget did not come as a surprise.  The district saw a decrease in enrollment of 217 students which accumulates over $1 million of the $2.3 million.  The other million comes from unforeseen expenses of repairing the damages that occurred at the Central High School building back in August. 

The challenge for the district is the timing of the budget is not ideal.  The global pandemic of COVID-19 has brought on major challenges to SJSD already, and now the district has to revitalize for budget cuts. 

"And the challenge for us, and Dr. Edgar said this last night, for a school district, you don't save money by taking pencils or books or materials away from kids.  80% of our budget roughly is tied up in staff.  So, if we have to make reductions down the road, it's going to be taking a look at staff more than likely.

Currently, Van Zyl said he does not know exactly who it is going to affect because they have to take a look at how everything is going to pan out the rest of the year.

The current budget for SJSD for the 2020-2021 school year is $136 million. 

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