School board budget projections show $5.6 million deficit due to families applying for state scholarships


Bottom line: The number of students in traditional district schools dropped in 2020-21 and has only slightly recovered, while the number of families choosing state scholarships or homeschooling has increased significantly. This is leading to a projected budget deficit of $5.6 million for Alachua County Public Schools for the 2022-23 school year.

A budget presentation to the Alachua County School Board on May 11 showed that the number of students in the district is growing quickly, but the increases are in scholarship programs (tuition paid to private schools by the state), while the number of students in district schools has only recovered slightly from the drop seen in 2020-21. The FTEs in the chart above are students, and while the number of students in charter schools has remained nearly constant since the 2013-14 school year, the number of students in district schools grew through 2019-20, dropped by about 1,000 in 2020-21, and is only projected to recover a fraction of that drop through the 2022-23 school year. Meanwhile, the number of students in scholarship programs has exploded from a few hundred in 2019-20 to about 2,000 projected for 2022-23.

It’s important to note that the projection is based on scholarship applications that were approved in the past year; it is unknown how many of these families will find seats in private schools or will decide to return to their district schools. However, there were about 1,300 students in these scholarship programs this year.

Alachua County Public Schools Finance Chief Alex Rella told the school board that the FTE is “the single most important part of the budget” because it drives both the per-student revenue and costs that include bus drivers and teachers. For the 2021-22 school year, the number of students enrolled in the district’s traditional schools was 665 below projections, and the number of students in scholarship programs was 824 above projections.

The number of scholarship and homeschool students has increased quite a bit since the 2019-20 school year:

Rella told the board that “the Empowerment Scholarship’s the single biggest threat to education, in my opinion, in terms of the financial aspect. Parents have a lot of choices, and you know, I think we’re going to have to change our mindset in a lot of ways if we’re going to be competitive.” Rella said they’d thought that 70-80% of students who had switched to homeschooling during COVID would return to district schools, but that hasn’t happened.

Rella said that due to legislative changes this year, the district will not receive any funding under the School Recognition Program, regardless of the district’s grade, because the legislature specified that the money could not go to districts that had a face covering mandate.

Rella said that the current budget projections show an increase in funding of about $18 million, but $14.6 million of that will be deducted if the scholarship program projections are accurate, leading to an increase of only $4.7 million. The district’s required additional expenses for the next fiscal year come to $11.3 million.

That leads to an estimated budget deficit of $5.6 million. Rella added, “We do not operate very efficiently, in my opinion, so there’s definitely opportunities for the board to reduce costs by being more efficient.”

Board Member Tina Certain asked for specifics on efficiency, but Rella said it would be best if his staff brought back some potential items after discussing it with Superintendent Shane Andrew. Certain also asked Rella to bring back suggestions on how the ESSER and ARP funds could legally be used to reduce the deficit.

In closing that segment of the meeting, Board Chair Robert Hyatt said, “We have to win the competition. We have to be the choice that parents want… We have to continue to improve what we offer… We need to make sure that we promote… what we’re doing.”

  • hahahahaha That’s what they get for trying to indoctrinate children.

  • The statement that “We don’t operate very efficiently” is a good admission but what democrat cares. Look at the city’s glutinous tax hikes and constant roll over of GRU debt. Most democrats are similar to AOC’s idea that there is so much wealth in the US, that simply printing up endless supplies, while no additional goods and services are being produced by it) is fine. No, that’s the definition cause of inflation and the reason Biden has us at such a place with highest inflation in 50 years, >8%, when we’ve been running <2%. Thanks democrats.

  • (this is the part where the government pretends to lack money, and the whores chime in more)

  • Reading scores are in the basement !
    Stop the indoctrination and return back to the prime directive of the basic fundamentals of education.
    The 3 R’s period !
    Nobody wants to be part of a sinking ship.
    If Simon and her power board return it’s going to be a huge failure at every level.

    • Carnegie Foundation and associated devious entities strive to reshape humanity into a land of no male speaking freely

  • Getting out of the public school indoctrination and grooming systems is the smartest thing that responsible parents can do,

    • Stop making the school board a welfare program for corrupt old bats ready to play the race card each and every hour of their sorry lives. Make McGraw a janitor at some school if she needs a job with the school system. That’s all she is worthy of at this point.

      • 0uch! The truth hurts.. you go Peabody! You’re gonna
        End up like Umphrey too according to swampy.

  • Sandy Hooker 1 and 2 needs you devoted to DeathCultDemonCrew (that 3rd one is supposed to capture you)

  • Bottom line, this is the why: because they went along with the
    great reset pandemic scenario. —“ARP funds can legally be used reduce the deficit”…
    they mandated face masks. ARP funds have to be associated with Covid somehow. That’s why they tortured the children and made them wear masks…to get that free federal money.

    —EZ fix: no teacher salary increases or raises for employees. Why should they get raises if
    The 3rd graders aren’t reading at level? Why should
    They get a raise when they were paid not to work?
    There should be no teachers union for public schools and the children should come first.

  • Cops faked Sandy Hook and then whores faked CorporateCovidMindRapeMore

    • You got a “sharp eye” & a “golden shield”
      👁 & 🥇 🛡 program

      • georgetown.edu: (March 2, 2021) China’s 2016 five-year plan set a goal for Sharp Eyes to achieve 100% coverage of China’s public spaces in 2020

        thank you Q for helping me learn more

    • The Golden Shield Project (Chinese: 金盾工程; pinyin: jīndùn gōngchéng), also named National Public Security Work Informational Project, is the Chinese nationwide network-security fundamental constructional project by the e-government of the People’s Republic of China. This project includes a security management information system, a criminal information system, an exit and entry administration information system, a supervisor information system, a traffic management information system

  • Umphrey’s McGee ended up dead like Leo Frank in bed with ADL Skanks

  • “More, More, More” is a song written by Gregg Diamond and recorded by American disco artist Andrea True. It was released in February 1976 and became her signature track and one of the most popular songs of the disco era

    • In 1999, Canadian band Len sampled the instrumental break in “More, More, More” and used it as the backdrop for their top-ten single “Steal My Sunshine”

  • How much would that be if each parent with children
    In the school system chipped in to make up the difference? A user fee.
    The parents can stroke the check because the money
    Will be going to educate their kids. I paid over $10,000
    To the school system last year from property tax and I have no kids in the school system. Parents should pay their fair share for the kids they have in the
    School system…you know, have some skin in the game.
    A lot of this boils down to personal responsibility: don’t
    Breed em if you can’t educate & feed em. Rubbers are
    Cheaper than abortion too.

  • Just as quickley as Joe Biden has destroyed America’s propesperity, the Ken Cornell Candidate Carley Simon bestowed alachua county’s school system with politically driven financial chaos.. Elected by a fraud on the school board , has not returned her salary yet. The fraud member that put her in that position has not returned he illgotten gains while accepting a salary . Following the footsteps is Money Bags Alford on the ACBOC, accepting a salary while in office illegally. What a Legacy. Until Democrat Leadership and politics get out of our school system there will be uneccesary financial hardships, massive exedous of students, excelling teachers and staff leaving and the current Board is as clueless as the Supervisor of Election. All unnacountable. Hell they could simply fire GRU and Hook all schools up to Clay Electic and make up the millions they have cost taxpayers with their fight and lawsuits against good Solid Goverernance . Do they need an state audit like the one that just exposed the City of Gainesville and GRU Finances?

  • Change the whole state system: if you take the public $, then
    You have to give back with public service. Mandatory
    State or military service upon reaching 18 or pay the
    Interest free student loan your parents agreed to upon
    Entering you into the public school system. Otherwise,
    Send your kids to private school or home school them
    Yourself. Feeding and educating YOUR child is YOUR
    Responsibility, not mine…those who the public school system failed can be used as cannon fodder.

    • I think public school should be free as long as a student behaves properly and doesn’t disrupt others’ learning to any great extent. Otherwise, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I’m not talking about harmless class clowns or “misgendering someone.” But in general, act like you are there to learn or get out.

      • Bernie likes free stuff too! You gonna vote for Bernie
        Next time?😃

        • They need to remove the word “free” from the state constitution when it comes to education. This way
          Paying for education will be more fair & equitable especially for those those who do & don’t have children in the public school system. Parents need
          To pay their fair share for their kids in the system.
          They should have to pay for the school bussing, their child’s supplies, for their lunch. I’ll meet anyone half way. I pay half of your child’s education, you pay the other half. That’s fair, right?

    • Covid shot nanotechnology got swampy5g in Manchurian candidate virtual reality.

  • Gators will always have Corporate Glam, catch up on the Official Story Scam

  • was it really Jesuits? was it really Mark Sexton? was it really GRU Sparky?

    • Maybe the ACSB should implement the “sharp eyes program” or “golden shield”….this is why the children in CCP are so smart and
      Read, write, & do arithmetic at grade…they wear masks
      There and thats the protocol ACSB instituted here
      Because of COVID.

  • Biden Voters rooting for more SinisterStatistMaskedVaxxedEvil

    • You’ll be nanotech vaxed right into the 5th industrial revolution metaverse
      Where Metatron will be thinking for thee through 5g
      Mr McGee . We know you are bullwinkle so it’s time
      To take a tinkle.

    • Vultures are silent most of the time. They make raspy, drawn-out hissing sounds while feeding and fighting, along with grunting noises that can sound like hungry pigs or dogs barking in the distance. Courting vultures may give a yapping sound. Nestlings give low hisses or coughs to beg for food, and adults at the nest sometimes give creaky, pigeonlike coos

  • (that 3rd one is supposed to Childhood’s End capture you)

    Everyone Knew

  • Sorry Mr. Hyatt, ‘promote what we’re doing’ is not a viable strategy for retaining students & funding when the 3rd grade reading numbers show the apparent long term futility of what you are doing.

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