Garfield County Re-2 School District readopts budget

When the 2020-2021 fiscal budget was originally adopted in 2020 by the Garfield Re-2 school district, some financial unknowns persisted. This included a gauge on student count, property tax collections and emergency funding for COVID-19, among other factors.

Amid the indefinite funding sources and expenditures, however, the board adopted in June 2020 the 2020-’21 fiscal budget with about $77.7 million in total appropriations.

But now that additional revenues and expenditures have become more concrete, the board on Jan. 25 passed a readopted budget of about $82.75 million in total appropriations.

“When you do a readopted budget — and I know this district has not historically done it — the reason it’s useful, it provides for a much more accurate representation of known expenses,” Chief Financial Officer David Trautenberg said of the budget, which under Colorado state statute a school board can legally pass prior to Jan. 31.

Figures prepared by Trautenberg show that the district tacked on increases in total funds available for the general fund, shooting up from the originally budgeted $63 million to an estimated $66.7 million.

“When you look at our increases of salaries and purchase services — all of this is really related to increases we’ve experienced predominantly from managing through the COVID pandemic,” Trautenberg said. “Offsetting that is a little over $3.2 million of both state and federal funding we’ve received.”

Trautenberg said because expenses are greater than the account’s revenue of $51 million, the district had to appropriate $3.3 million from the $15.6 million fund balance. This, however, still leaves the estimated fund balance at $12.3 million for the end of fiscal year 2020-’21.

“I think we’ve managed our finances really well,” Trautenberg said. “… If you think how other districts are weathering the storm, we’re doing a good job.”

In addition, the designated purpose grant fund increased from about $1.18 million to about $1.24 million.

June 2020

• Total appropriations: $77.7 million

• Capital Projects Fund: $1.37 million

Jan. 25, 2021

• Total appropriations: $82.75 million

• Capital projects: $2.47 million

Meanwhile, last week’s readopted budget for the food service fund saw a drop in funds available, with the originally rounded $2.5 million decreasing to about $1.82 million.

“For food service, there we inadvertently had put in some extra money that we didn’t need — almost $1 million. … Given the changes in the extension of the summer feeding program, nutrition services doesn’t really need that increased support,” Trautenberg

Historically, Trautenberg said, the food services account usually ends the fiscal year between $250,000-$300,000.

“It’s actually not a lot of changes,” he said.

Another change came with the capital projects fund. Originally adopted with $1.37 million for capital projects, , the readopted budget increases that to about $2.47 million.

Trautenberg said the increase in the capital projects fund is in an effort to ensure a healthy balance for all projects and capital outlay needs. Right now, according to presented documents, Re-2 capital projects include:

• R & H Mechanical/Rifle High School/Welding Shop Air Filtration

• Colorado Doorways/Rifle Middle School/Highland Elementary interior doors

• Highland Elementary Modular Lease

• Cactus Valley Elementary Modular Lease/Slab

• Coal Ridge High School (Modular Lease, Insurance Reserve)

• Transportation Purchase (one large and one small)

• Chromebooks

• HRIS (Frontline) System

The school board would unanimously pass three budget adoption resolutions — appropriations for fund balance, capital projects and general fund.

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