At the June 10 Fountain Hills Unified School District Governing Board meeting, members heard reports from superintendent Dr. Robert Allen about the revised budget for the 2019-2020 school year and the proposed budget for the 2020-2021 school year.
Allen began by talking about the revised budget and highlighted the reasons why the $14 million dollar budget came back with some additional funds.
“There are two primary things to take away from the revised budget,” Allen explained. “First, the student count increased from my initial estimate from a year ago. So the average daily membership increased about 30 or so students and, when those kids were weighted, that generated the additional income.”
While the budget does not show where these extra 30 students fit into the district Allen said the number is a result of a bigger kindergarten enrollment than expected, along with higher retention at the high school.
“The second big takeaway was the District Additional Assistance, which is capital funds that the state provides,” Allen said. “It’s not our capital override. It is a state funded capital fund but we have the flexibility of keeping it for capital use or moving it to the maintenance and operations side of the budget.”
With the DAA being more flexible than monies typically in a school budget. Allen plans to bring the funds forward to this year’s proposed budget.
“With the uncertainty of enrollment for next year and the uncertainties about virtually everything for next year, I’m taking the DAA and transferring it to the M&O to plan for those unknowns,” Allen said.
Along with moving the DAA funds forward to the proposed budget, Allen is also being cautious not to overestimate the high school’s student count.
“I estimated high school to be a little bit higher because we are right at the bubble of how kids get weighted in the budget,” Allen said. “If you are over 501 students, that weight drops. If you’re between 500 and 100, it’s a higher weight; meaning more funding per student. So I actually projected at 500 so we don’t over-budget.”
Allen said that the monetary difference from going from one weight to another could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which could be significant to a smaller district like FHUSD.
The School Board approved both the revised and proposed budgets.