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Colorado Springs school districts prepare for potential budget cuts in 2020-2021 academic year

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Many businesses are already feeling the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but for school districts in Colorado Springs, the worst may still be to come.

Officials with Academy District 20 say they aren't feeling the financial impacts of this pandemic just yet as their budget for this school year is already set, but they are still recovering from the 2008 recession.

Both Harrison District 2 and Academy District 20 say the state has given them an estimate of what the 2020-2021 budget may look like.

"We are preparing anything from a flat budget situation to a 10% cut," says Allison Cortez, Director of Communications for District 20. "That's in the 10 to 15 million dollar range, and that's a big impact on a school district's budget."

Officials at both districts say first and foremost, they want to protect their students.

"We're going to do whatever we can to minimize any potential reductions or anything that would affect academic programs or our students in the classrooms," says Shelley Becker, Chief Financial Officer for District 2.

"We're looking for anything that doesn't impact student learning, and after that is when we'll start to go 'ok - maybe we can pull this or cut that,'" says Cortez.

To get ahead of what may come, District 2 and District 20 are considering more conservative solutions, as well.

"Maybe a department or school had planned to replace chairs; right now, that would not be deemed essential," says Becker.

"They're looking at big things like can we purchase buses, or maybe we could just do maintenance on those buses so we don't have to purchase them next year," says Cortez.

Every district has a different per-people-rate that determines how much money they get from the state. Because of that, the impacts this pandemic has on districts will be vastly different.

Colorado Springs / Coronavirus / Education / Local News

Mia Villanueva

Mia is a weekday reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Mia here.

Comments

3 Comments

  1. Typically school districts get their money from property taxes. So it is not like they will feel an impact of lack of sales taxes. Interesting.

    1. Yes, while Colorado school districts recieve most of their funding via property taxes, they also recieve a significant sum from the State (Constitutionally mandated by several voter-approved amendments).

    2. Yes and no. School districts are funded on a very complex formula called PPOR, or Per Pupil Operating Revenue. It is based on the assessed property value of the school district’s residences and businesses. Enrollment drops, then so does the budget. Schools in lower income areas have their funding balanced by the State. Rural districts are typically screwed if the State budget suffers, because their books, lockers, computers, desks, gyms, etc. aren’t any less expensive to purchase, replace, or maintain.

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