Glynn County Schools has, since the start of the pandemic, received several rounds of federal funding allocated to school districts throughout the country.
As district leaders plan for the upcoming fiscal year’s budget, they are working to find ways to best use that money while anticipating future funding trends in the state and country.
Andrea Preston, assistant superintendent of finances for Glynn County Schools, reviewed last week the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2022 with the Glynn County Board of Education during a work session.
Tax digest numbers have yet to come in, so Preston anticipates the budget will change significantly before finalized this summer.
The school system is set to begin the fiscal year with a $23.4 million fund balance.
Several budget increases are expected, including new staff positions for the upcoming school year, Preston said.
Pandemic relief funding has allocated a significant amount of money to the local district.
The first round of CARES Act money the school system received in 2020 was $3.4 million. A second round of CARES Act funding brought $14.4 million to Glynn County Schools.
About $6 million of the second round of CARES Act funding will go toward salaries and benefits, providing savings for the district, like the first round did.
“We’re also going to use that money for the Chromebook initiative that we did, instead of using ESPLOST money, so that will save money on the ESPLOST money for renovations,” Preston said. “And we’re going to look at rolling out the Promethean boards.”
A third and most recent round of federal funding was originally said to allocate $32.2 million for Glynn County Schools, with a caveat that 20 percent must be spent on loss of learning remediation.
Last week, though, the district received an update that the federal government has informed states that 65 percent of the money will be distributed, and states must apply for the remainder via a grant application process.
“So it remains to be seen whether or not the state of Georgia when they apply for the remaining money will get it,” Preston said. “But even if they don’t get it, our allocation will be $20.9 million, and of that $20.9 million we have to spend 20 percent on loss of learning, minimum.”
Following a midterm adjustment at the state level, Glynn County Schools will also receive more than $2.44 million based on lost FTE (full-time equivalent student) funding.
Superintendent Scott Spence noted that while a lot of money is being distributed right now, there will likely be state or federal funding cuts down the road.
“Our federal government is printing money right now,” Spence said. “And in a year or two, we’re going to have to pay for that. So we need to be in a position to handle that.”
Preston said she usually plans conservatively for each budget year and will do so again this year.
“I think Scott and I are on the same page in that we feel like we probably should sit on the money, most of it,” Preston said. “We definitely need to do the remediation part, loss of learning, and maybe some other stuff … But there will be plenty leftover to just sit on for a year or two.”