Despite uncertain revenue, board passes 2020-2021 budget without cutting programs or services

Despite uncertain revenue, board passes 2020-2021 budget without cutting programs or services
Posted on 06/30/2020
Hagemann Elementary student works out a math problem

The Mehlville Board of Education approved the budget for the 2020-2021 school year (FY21) at its June 25 meeting. The FY21 budget of $124.8 million includes a projected operating loss of $4.5 million in FY21.

“While we anticipate spending more than our revenue sources next year, our cash reserves will provide the cushion we need to weather this pandemic year without cutting any programs or services,” said Dr. Chris Gaines, Superintendent of Mehlville School District.

The district currently has 34.5 percent of operating expenses in cash reserves as of June 30. Those reserves will decrease throughout the fall until the district receives local property tax revenues. The cash reserves are estimated to drop to 28.9 percent at the end of FY21. 

“The district does not typically present a budget with a $4.5 million operating loss,” said Marshall Crutcher, Chief Finance Officer for Mehlville School District. “However, this budgeted operating loss is an educated guess since there is no state guidance on the school funding formula, state sales tax or other revenue withholdings. This budgeted loss could vary significantly either favorably or unfavorably.”

The budget includes increased salaries for Mehlville School District employees by $2.2 million, or 3.2 percent, and continues to fulfill the promises the district made to the community during the passage of Prop R in 2015 and Prop A in 2016.

Those propositions pay for much-needed capital maintenance and improvements, including new roofs, and improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Additionally, Prop R provides for ongoing staff development initiatives and curriculum revisions to improve student engagement and achievement.

“Additionally, in FY21, we will finish paying the Certificate of Participation debt,” Crutcher said. “By paying off this capital loan, about $8.8 million in revenue becomes available in FY22, which could be used to offset future operating losses and/or make facility improvements.”

The Facilities Steering Committee comprised of parents, staff and community members toured schools before the COVID-19 extended closure and has prioritized needed facility improvements across the district. The committee will make a recommendation this summer on needed facilities work.

View the FY21 budget (note page 16 and 17 have budget summary details).

The Mehlville School District strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees, students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity and other characteristics protected by law. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: contact Adam Smith at 314-467-5006 or [email protected].