SUSD seeks public input on upcoming budget plans

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Members of the public can attend two community forums to review the proposed 2020-21 budget for the Scottsdale Unified School District.

The forums will be Thursday, Jan. 30 and Thursday, Feb. 27. Both meetings take place from 6-7 p.m. at the Mohave District Annex, 8500 E. Jackrabbit Road, in the community meeting rooms.

SUSD interim Chief Financial Officer Jeff Gadd presented the draft budget for SUSD’s 2020-21 fiscal year, which begins July 1, at the Jan. 21 SUSD Governing Board meeting. The public forums will offer a similar look at where the district’s funding is allocated.

Before Governing Board adoption on June 23, the budget will undergo reviews at multiple board meetings in the coming months, according to a press release. Last year, the Governing Board unanimously approved a $196,873,999 budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year that d runs through June 30.

The tentative 2020-21 budget includes a 5% salary increase for teachers, marking the fourth straight year of increases in support of Gov. Doug Ducey’s 20% by 2020 Plan.

The district is also projecting there will be funding available to absorb increases in employee healthcare premiums for a second year in a row, ensuring rising healthcare premiums won’t hinder teacher pay raises.

In his presentation to the Governing Board, Mr. Gadd said the current year’s budget was based on a projected loss of nearly 600 students. As of Dec. 5, 2019, actual enrollment figures are better than projected, resulting in additional funding for the current year.

As a result of that strong enrollment, the tentative 2020-21 budget includes a $3 million surplus that will be reinvested back into the classrooms through textbook and technology purchases.

Attendees at the public forums will have an opportunity to hear additional details about how the proposed budget allocation seeks to direct as much money as possible into SUSD classrooms, a release claims.

SUSD’s news in enrollment comes after Moody’s Investor Services and Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings assigned SUSD updated credit analyses. Moody’s Aa1 stable rating reflects a “stable outlook” and “expectations that the district’s financial position will remain sound,” along with strong financial controls.

At the same time, Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings’ credit review of SUSD General Obligation 2019c series bonds resulted in a new rating of AA/Stable, while affirming the long-term credit outlook for the district as AA/Stable.

To view the 2019-2020 budget, community members can go to www.susd.org/Budget.

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