TAPS grapples with ongoing enrollment decline

Deficit expected because of projected decrease in student population for 21-22 school year

By Tara Brandl

A decrease in enrollment predicted for this fall has led to a 2021-22 preliminary budget deficit of $127,683 for Tracy Public Schools as approved at the school board meeting Monday night.

One of the largest changes to the school budget is a predicted enrollment of 649 for fall 2021. Enrollment was 676 in September 2020. The change in enrollment results in a change for state funding. With an enrollment of 649, the school will receive $690.20 per pupil versus the $729.22 they received for FY21. The state’s general education funding bill calls for a 2.45% increase in the basic formula for FY22 and 2% increase for FY23.

“One thing I can tell you right now is that people are not moving next door,” Supt. Chad Anderson explained about the change in enrollment. “People are moving somewhere in South Dakota or somewhere in the Cities, or their family is moving to Arizona. I’ve sat and talked with (Tracy Area Elementary School Principal Mike) Mr. Munson about every single family that is moving and they’re moving quite a distance. But you could see 25 move in this summer, too. It’s always volatile like that in Tracy. It’s always had a lot of movement in and out.”

The largest variance would be in Fund 01 (general fund) at -$130,983. The community service fund is also predicted to have a deficit of $55,520. The food service FY22 preliminary budget has a variance of $46,295, debt redemption of $1,630 and the trust of $12,975.

The Fund 01 preliminary revenues for FY22 are $9,155,417, a decrease of $577,913 from FY21. The largest change in revenue is the ESSER/GEER/CARES grant money related to COVID and the office remodel grant money. The FY22 preliminary Fund 01 expenditures decreased from $10,396,486 in FY21 to $9,286,400 in FY22, a decrease of $1,110,086. Again, the largest changes will come from not having the office remodel expenditures and the ESSER/GEER/CARES expenditures.

The board also rescinded the MSBA/MASA Model COVID 19 face-covering policy that was adopted at the August 2020 board meeting.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.