GFPS facing potential budget shortfall for 2019-2020 school year

Posted at 3:18 PM, Mar 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-15 21:05:21-04

GREAT FALLS – Great Falls Public Schools held its first town hall meeting Tuesday to discuss the budget outlook for the 2019-2020 school year.

“Tammy Lacey, our superintendent, projected what the rollover costs will be, that will roll over into the next year with salary increases for staff,” Brain Patrick, GFPS Director of Business Operations, said.

Patrick said they are unsure about fund increases due to contract negotiations with the unions.

School officials also outlined some of the revenue that will come in.

“Federally, we took some substantial cuts. The federal government has reduced the title program funding. The state money, we know at this point in time that we’ll get $389,000 more for the previous year,” Patrick said.

Right now, they face a potential shortfall of about $1 million in the upcoming school year’s budget.

The budget is mainly based on student enrollment and GFPS has had a decline in enrollment.

“Since students are the driving force in any budget for any school district in Montana, that has impacted us. We have done a verity of things. We have taken money out of reserves and we have made reductions. We have made a lot of reductions. We are to the point to where we are seriously down to the bone and need to address those concerns,” Patrick said.

The next meeting will be held March 21 at 1 p.m. where they will discuss if the district will put a mill levy on the May ballot.

Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News