Grove City Area School District officials are working on the budget for 2020-21, which carries a deficit of nearly $1.3 million.

The preliminary spending plan was presented during Monday night’s virtual school board work session. The board has until the end of June to adopt the final budget, said Lee McCracken, board president.

Revenues are currently projected to be $40,615,599, and expenses are estimated at $41,892,515. That has created a shortfall of $1,276.916.

Local revenues come from a variety of sources, with real estate taxes bringing in the most money; just under $11 million is expected next school year, he said.

That’s about $225,000 less than what was budgeted for this school year because of the financial strains some residents are facing from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district wants to be conservative on tax collections because some people are having trouble paying their mortgages, which typically include real estate taxes, McCracken said.

And since a lot of people are out of work right now, the district is estimating less revenue from earned income taxes. Next year’s budget shows that amount is $1,499,000; this year’s amount is $1,625,000.

Projected state revenues are $17,492,082, which is $386,584 more than this year, he said.

The district will be receiving $372,000 in grant funding from the CARES Act, which provides enhanced unemployment compensation benefits and pandemic unemployment assistance.

Federal revenues are expected to total $2,079,251, up by $206,468 compared to this school year; that’s due mainly to an increase in Title I funding, said Kim Buchanan, business manager and school board secretary.

The cost of supplies and utilities are projected to decrease, contributing to about $426,000 less in operating expenses compared to this year, McCracken said.

McCracken noted that salaries and benefits make up roughly 70 percent of the district’s budget, and those are contractual obligations that can’t be adjusted.

He’ll be working on the budget with Buchanan and Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Finch over the coming weeks; that includes analyzing the district’s employees to ensure it’s appropriately staffed.

“We’ve got a challenge in front of us to balance this budget, right?” he asked.

The board’s next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. May 11. Visit www.grovecity.k12.pa.us for details on how to join by phone or video meeting.

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