Schools in the Cloquet region face variable provisional budgets
Local schools face a variety of planned budgets for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, with the Cloquet school district currently projecting a budget shortfall of $ 385,262 for the unallocated general fund balance, while the Esko school district is currently projecting a budget deficit of $ 385,262 for the unallocated general fund balance, while the Esko school district expects a positive balance of the unallocated general fund. of approximately $ 2.7 million.
According to Cloquet Superintendent Michael Cary, it is normal for the district to experience a projected deficit. When creating the budget, school officials often underestimate incoming revenue and overestimate spending.
“We know that most years, because of the way we project our expenses and our income… we generally estimate the worst case scenario out there,” Cary said. “It’s very likely that by the time we hit the middle of the year that number will be considerably smaller.”
However, if the budget does not appear to be more balanced by the mid-year review, Cary said some saving measures could be taken, although he does not foresee major budget problems.
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“We’re generally pretty comfortable,” he said, adding that in recent years the district had forecast a large deficit, which was then drastically reduced by mid-year.
Esko is also expected to see a change, according to Superintendent Aaron Fischer, who said factors such as the ongoing contract negotiations for teachers and the legislative session will likely affect school funds.
“We do our best to estimate,” Fischer said.
Cary echoed the idea, citing impending faculty retirements as one of the factors.
Teachers who plan to retire are usually at the top of the salary scale, unlike incoming teachers, he said. Without knowing how many teachers will be retiring in the next fiscal year, Cary said it was impossible to predict the impact of teacher salaries on the budget.
The Esko and Cloquet school boards approved their respective projected budgets on Monday, June 14.
In addition to the budget, Esko’s board of directors also approved the transfer of $ 25,000 from the unrestricted general fund and $ 50,000 from the unallocated fund. Early Childhood Family Education Fund at Esko’s Community Education Program to help offset the costs of free child care provided during the COVID-19 pandemic. These costs were already taken into account in the provisional budget.