Changes are afoot for school systems in the fall, regardless of what happens with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but school officials are working to try and limit what adjustments they will have to make.
The Walton County Board of Education addressed COVID-19 issues at its recent meeting, particularly how it will impact the budget.
With the economy slumping, tax revenue is down and all systems are feeling the crunch going into the budgeting process for the coming school year.
Superintendent Nathan Franklin said there are essentially three ways to address expected shortfalls in revenue to cover expenses.
One is to draw money from the fund balance, which is rather healthy for the district, but would leave the system facing possible trouble if further expenses present themselves and the savings have already been raided.
Another is to furlough employees, which could prove necessary if the school system has to return to digital learning when the school year begins.
Franklin hopes that will not come to be, saying the system is going forward with the expectation of returning to campus in the fall.
The last option to address budget crunch problems is to raise the millage rate.
“We’ve been fortunate to drop our millage rate six years in a row,” Franklin said.
Still, tax revenue may also take a hit if the country enters a recession, making even that a move with limited potential.
Franklin said the board would entertain all options as the budget committee gears up to begin making hard decisions in the weeks ahead.