The Great Falls Public Schools (GFPS) Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting Thursday evening, where they plan to finalize the 2019-2020 school year budget.
According to the Thursday night meeting agenda, “The 2019-2020 combined Elementary and High School Budgeted Funds are anticipated to total $92,481,466. For all of 2019-2020 budgeted funds, total mills are anticipated to be 243.93 compared to 249.97 in 2018-2019.”
According to Brian Patrick, GFPS Director of Business Operations, said the total budget has about a $676,000 shortfall compared to the 2018-2019 school year.
To address the budget shortfall, GFPS increased extra-curricular participation fees, made reductions in building maintenance line items, hired teacher and administrative vacancy replacements at a lower cost, eliminated a few teacher aide positions and dipped into their reserve funds.
“Well, you know, I think anymore it’s what we live with.,” Patrick said. “You always want to do more for our students, there’s no question about that. We’ve learned to live with the numbers that we do have and operate within those numbers and make them work as best as we can, stretch our resources thin to serve students as best we can.”
Patrick noted with the district not running a levy last year, the budget this year was completed student enrollment driven, meaning the budget is determined by the number of students enrolled for both elementary and high school.
This year’s budget also includes a property tax decrease equivalent to $8.15 for every $100,000 of taxable market value of a home.
By law, the trustees must approve the budget by August 25.