NCPS budget includes stimulus, refinancing

Julie Davis
Nebraska City News-Press

The $21.9 million 2021-2022 Nebraska City Public Schools budget includes almost $800,000 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds from the federal government, almost $1 million in a district line of credit, and $2.35 million in refinancing Tax Anticipation Notes (TANs) relating to the construction of the current Northside Elementary and remodeling at Hayward Elementary and Nebraska City High School in 2010.

NCPS Superintendent Mark Fritch shared the following information with the News-Press:

Thanks to

1.  Stimulus money/reimbursements;

2.  Reduction in current expenditures during 2020-2021 school year; and

3.  Reduction in expenditures for 2021-2022 budget year,

The following either took place or will take place.

1.  NCPS ended the 2020-2021 school year with more revenue than expenses and within budget.

2.  NCPS paid off the loan at American National Bank ("energy loan" that was allocated for upgrading energy efficiency).

3.  NCPS transferred money to the depreciation fund and earmarked it for specific expenditures going forward (vehicle purchase, curriculum, technology, building operations, facility equipment/maintenance-353,524, and student activity equipment).

4.  NCPS paid on Tax Anticipation Note, calling $125,000 worth of notes.

5.  NCPS paid $168,000 worth of bills prior to end of fiscal year (traditionally, these are paid in September).

6.  NCPS reduced its general fund operating budget by more than $300,000 for 2021-2022.

7.  Going forward, the Central Office / Impact School building loan will be paid out of the Building Fund.

Although the previous and current budget years look good financially, Fritch said that “sustainability is still not realistic for this district.”

He noted that many people want to blame past spending for the district’s financial situation. He respects those opinions, but believes it’s time for the district to start looking forward when solving financial issues instead of focusing on past decisions.

Fritch said the district will continue to explore other revenue sources and expenditure reductions.

A change in the state formula for school funding could help solve some of Nebraska City’s financial issues, he said. 

“As long as property values continue to be directly connected to school funding, Nebraska City will continue to suffer,” said Fritch.

Alternatively, an increase in property values, an increase in student population, or a combination of both factors would benefit the district, he said, adding that the current building and staff situation would not have to change dramatically to accommodate 100 or more additional students.