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2024-25 GIPS Budget Forecast

GIPS news graphic

November 14, 2023

What is best for our students?

This is a question we ask regularly at Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS).  No matter where you go in our district, you will find dedicated staff, coaches, and administrators keeping our mission top of mind:  How are we supporting every student? 

Oftentimes, that question is easy to answer.  Other times, it may be more challenging.  

Right now we find ourselves looking at the horizon and find a daunting challenge in front of us:  Forecasting, and adjusting to meet, our financial outlook for the 2024-25 school year and beyond. 

As we look at the financial future of the district there is a very real need for us to find ways to lower our operational costs. Our board of education was very responsive in their recognition of a need to pay employees more. Unfortunately, those needed pay raises combined with the continuing cost increases for all other goods and services we use has put our district in a position where we need to find ways to operate more efficiently.

In order to fund anticipated future increases in the costs of goods and services, as well as increases in salaries and wages, the GIPS district anticipates a need to reduce General Fund budgetary costs by $5,000,000 for the 2024-25 school year.

Why do we need to decrease spending by $5,000,000?

  • We want to continue our commitment to compensating our teachers and staff in a competitive fashion. 

The success of our district is dependent upon the great people we have working here.  In an employment environment where there are shortages everywhere we know we are going to need to continue to compete to keep the people we have and to hire top notch replacements. 

  • ESSER III dollars will be going away next summer. 

Per Federal mandate, ESSER funds will no longer be provided to public schools across the country.  We are set to use the last of our ESSER III pandemic relief aid funding in July of 2024 by legal requirement.  With this monetary support going away, we need to evaluate all the non-construction related costs we have connected to that funding source.  Anything we wish to keep that is currently funded by ESSER dollars will need to be paid for using state or local dollars.  Some things we will keep, some things we will not.  

  • Local valuation growth will result in less financial support from the state.

The 2023-24 fiscal year saw a historic increase in property valuations in our county.  While GIPS is a consumer of that financial increase, the setting of property valuations is a process we have no say in.  This growth in valuation allowed the GIPS district to lower our general fund tax levy for the first time in 22 years and still be able to generate the funds needed to operate our district.  However, the valuation growth this year will have a negative impact on the state aid we receive next year.  The equalization dollars that we receive from the state are directly connected to our ability to tax for local dollars.  Increase in valuation would have allowed us to tax for $6 million more than the previous year.  While we chose to tax for considerably less than the full $6 million, the state aid formula will still decrease our needs by the full $6 million.

What are our commitments at GIPS?

  • We are working through a thoughtful, intentional process to identify where costs can be reduced with the least impact on our students.
  • We will continue providing our staff competitive compensation, benefits, and appropriate raises.
  • We will review all district job vacancies before deciding whether to recruit for a replacement or to re-allocate job duties to existing personnel.
  • We will be as equitable as possible in cutting costs while also maintaining vital support to our staff and students.

What is next?

We will continue meeting with administrators and department leads from across the district to further discuss where we might reduce costs. As decisions are made over the course of the next few months, we will continue to share information. We will work diligently to keep everyone informed about any decisions that are made.

More importantly, we will continue our work of inspiring our students, empowering our staff, and collaborating with our community. 

We are all in this together as a school district.  We are committed to our students and our community — we want to provide every support possible for  our staff to inspire today’s students so they may have better tomorrows.

- Matt Fisher,
GIPS Superintendent