PITTSBURGH -- The North Hills School District Board of Education unanimously approved the final budget for the 2020-21 school year at its legislative meeting on Thursday, June 11. The meeting was held virtually via Zoom amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final budget has revenues and expenditures of $84,048,558 and does not include a real estate tax rate increase keeping the rate at 18.65 mills for the 2020-21 school year.
"In what was anticipated to be a difficult budget year even before COVID-19, I am thrilled we were able to produce a balanced budget without a tax increase. It is the right thing to do for our community members during this extremely difficult time for us all,” said Superintendent Dr. Patrick J. Mannarino.
He added, “We are fortunate to have received federal and state funding that will provide relief to areas in the budget where we would have been otherwise forced to take a pause in growth."
Among other things, the funding will allow NHSD to maintain current class sizes without utilizing a temporary, one-year override as initially proposed.
"We are committed to supporting the highest quality education in our schools. We are also committed to balancing the overall well-being of the North Hills community,” said Board of Education President Allison Mathis. “We are aware of the extreme financial difficulties faced by many at this time because of the economic fallout from COVID-19. This was a unique budgeting challenge and a difficult year, but I commend the administration for presenting the board with a balanced budget without a tax increase."
The budget includes no furloughs and does not cut any programs or curriculum. Instead, all NHSD departments have been asked to think creatively, reallocate their budgeted resources and make do with less.
The budget has limited contingency funds compared to previous years and the district is not making a direct transfer into the capital fund for future projects at this time.
There are adjustments to improve the health and safety of everyone in the district amid COVID-19 including the expansion of NHSD’s 1:1 iPad initiative Project Connect to include all students in grades K-12 next school year to ensure everyone has access to a device. This will also eliminate the need to share classroom devices in order to reduce the spread of germs.
For the same germ-reduction reasons, the water fountains in all district buildings and at Martorelli Stadium will be replaced with water bottle refill stations.
Rather than adjourn Thursday's meeting, President Mathis suspended the meeting and the board will reconvene to discuss the district’s reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year on Tuesday, June 30. Health and safety guidelines as well as the August 25 start date will be among the items discussed. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom and live-streamed on the district’s Facebook page just as all board meetings have during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you haven't already, please take our reopening and planning survey for 2020-21.