Thanks to generous federal assistance in the wake of pandemic relief, Riverside-Brookfield High School ended the 2020-2021 fiscal year with an operating budget surplus of $ 1,203,864. This is significantly different from the $ 1.6 million operating deficit forecast when the budget was approved in September 2020.
RBHS received approximately $ 1.7 million in federal grants and assistance during the fiscal year, which ended June 30, as a result of pandemic relief programs. Much of this aid was approved after the budget was passed.
“If these grants had been awarded two months earlier, we could have included them in the budget,” said Associate Superintendent Kristin Smetana.
RBHS received $ 760,000 in federal money for reimbursement for food services to provide lunches throughout the past school year, $ 500,000 in federal grants to fight COVID-19 and promote digital equity, and $ 410,000 in additional reimbursements for federal special education expenses.
Property tax revenues were over budget by $ 146,000 and the school collected $ 189,657 more than expected through the business personal property replacement tax. The school also raised $ 101,000 more in tuition than expected, about half of which came from paid sports game fees.
RBHS also received state aid of $ 80,000 and earned $ 47,666 more in interest than expected. The district also received a rebate of $ 18,621 for meeting the three welfare levels of its health insurance program.
Expenses were slightly lower than expected, with the school spending only 98.2% of budgeted expenses. The district saved on falling utility costs during the time students were not in construction last year, as well as the unexpected retirement of two veteran teachers last summer.
When one-time expenditures such as capital projects, life safety improvements and debt service are included in the budget, the surplus for fiscal year 2020-2021 fell to $ 735,419 due to $ 772,164 spent on improving personal safety.
The 2021-22 fiscal budget is not yet complete, but for now, the district is projecting a surplus of $ 355,204 for the coming year.
“I think the surplus will be slightly larger when we have said and done everything,” Smetana said.
Last year, Smetana had only forecast a collection rate of 97% of property tax revenue due to concerns about the financial difficulties some taxpayers would face as a result of the pandemic. For the coming year, Smetana plans a property tax collection rate of 99%.
It is common for RBHS to overestimate expenses and underestimate income in budgets, which usually makes the end results better than expected.