As we close the current fiscal year and move into a new one, we will face unique issues that we haven't encountered before. Unfortunately, dealing with these situations will cost money and require revenue flow to maintain district balances.
This month we must consider several factors:
- Our primary issue will be planning for students and staff to return to the buildings. Cleaning will be central to maintaining a healthy learning environment and having a sufficient supply of cleaning materials is key. As we move through the summer, acquiring these materials should be a priority focus along with a detailed plan for how frequently your staff will clean. A plan must include wiping down desks and all highly used areas and maintaining and checking out supplies to those who will be using the materials.
- You also need to carefully consider budgeting for custodial personnel. The extra time required to thoroughly clean probably means extra personnel or extra duties. This will be a balancing act throughout the remainder of the pandemic and needs to be well thought out. Look at your negotiated contracts or within individual teacher contracts and extra-duty contracts. It is better to budget for an increased need now than to put it off until later in the year.
- Another area to consider is having a discussion with the administrative team of the coming year's contract needs. It is essential that the days-to-hours calendar be considered and run through the attorney of record. If there is a need to dismiss school due to COVID, contracts must be crafted to ensure they will meet the academic year requirements. This past year was an unexpected occurrence, but the coming year will require both regular and extra-duty contracts include a disruption contingency.
- Once we get past contracts, we must look at how learning will occur if the school year is disrupted. We advise a discussion with your board and other stakeholders to address school closing procedures. There isn’t any way to predict the future, but it is better to be prepared than to have to adjust on the fly. OPSRC is working to help schools build out plans unique to their situation, but discussions need to be started as soon as possible if you haven’t already done so. The budgeting for these issues is central to your district's financial health.
- One last item to remember is that all these items require revenue. Please make sure you are checking on your methods to document student areas like special education, economically disadvantaged, bilingual and gifted. These are important parts of the State Aid formula and must be properly documented. There are many districts that will be coming off their high year this year, which makes the documentation requirements even more vital. This time of the year is an important time to streamline documentation procedures for the new year. You do not want to lose revenue because of a lack of documentation.