School district spending adjusts to the pandemic


Data from ELPS Budget Book 2020-2021 Final Budget Revision. Graphics by Aliyah Pratomo

Due to a large portion of the school year taking place online, the district budget and spending for the year has seen some changes.

More funds have been spent on cleaning supplies (PPE), disinfecting supplies, HVAC systems that clean and filter air and “hazard stipends,” meaning increased wages for teachers working under the risk of COVID-19.

Data from ELPS Budget Book 2020-2021 Final Budget Revision. Graphics by Aliyah Pratomo

According to Director of Finance Richard Pugh, the district has seen a lot of significant changes in district spending due to remote learning and addressing the pandemic.

According to the District’s Final Budget plan for the 2020-2021 school year, over $200,000 less were spent on Pupil Transportation (see figure/graph #) this school year than in the 2019-2020 school year. In addition, this year’s budget also saw a reduction in spending on school utilities and substitute teachers. 

Aside from the typical funding that the school district receives, ELPS also received COVID-19 aid grants from the federal government. Pandemic funds were used to purchase chromebooks, hot spots, cleaning supplies, masks and materials necessary to keep school open and operational in the midst of the pandemic.

“Comparing last year’s actual expenditure numbers (the amount spent by the district) to this year’s final budget, the General Fund per pupil expenditure spending is projected to increase approximately $600 per student,” Pugh said in an email. “That can largely be attributed to the COVID-19 federal funding.”

The district’s funding increased due to the increase in federal aid as well as typical state funding. Federal COVID-19 funding received for the 2020-2021 school year was about $1.7 million, with total federal funding for the year being nearly $2.5 million- including both COVID funding and that received in a typical year. State funding was nearly $28.7 million.

Data from ELPS Budget Book 2020-2021 Final Budget Revision.
Graphics by Aliyah Pratomo

“State funding was anticipated to be significantly reduced ($700 per pupil reduction was planned) due to the impact of the pandemic on the economy but thankfully State funding was not reduced,” Pugh said.

Pugh anticipates a more typical budget for the following school year as school begins to return to it’s typical layout.

“It [closing and re-opening the school] is not a money issue,” Pugh said. “Rather it’s the human aspect of being able to plan, implement, and adapt to change. This unprecedented school year has been extremely stressful on teachers, students and families, support services, and administrators.”