Look, friend. Here’s the reality: In as much as we all know and believe that numbers are numbers, they do change and at times there are unknowns. Unknowns about what funding is coming in, how restricted it is in use and more.
What makes the job of a fiscal officer even more difficult is when unknowns occur (like a once in a 100-year event like, I don’t know, maybe a pandemic) and fluctuations with state or federal budget figures. It’s a science, but not a perfect one.
At the same time, we always want your fiscal officer talking about the finances. But how do you do that and amid so many unknowns? It’s easy. There is always something that you can say -- so say it -- and don’t speculate or guess.
Even better, more specific for you are some key points that you can use that show the 30,000 foot view. In this case, these are specific to what many of you are facing right now. Use these.
School systems everywhere received funding through the CARES ACT. Communities everywhere are wondering how their school system is using these dollars.
- The CARES ACT provides schools with one-time funds to meet pandemic related needs – needs which we may not have otherwise met within our budget.
- The one-times CARES funding is not a windfall of cash to our schools. It is dedicated and it comes with guidance on spending (for learning recovery and continuity of operations).
- The funding has “allowable uses” which means that it must be dedicated for specific purposes such as learning recovery. We will develop a plan to carefully allocate these one-time funds to meet those learning recovery needs and communicate those to stakeholders.
Is your state working through budgetary allocations to schools? It’s a long process so be sure to only speak what you know until it is finalized.
- Right now, it is too early to tell what the legislature will do with funding to our schools. We cannot count on those unknowns right now. We can continue, however, to operate in a frugal manner.
- We will do our part to advocate at the State House for our district and students but there are no guarantees.
Use these if they accurately reflect your school system’s financial situation. If not, make your own using these as your guide. Good luck and get communicating!