Las Vegas City Schools is anticipating a $1.37 million shortfall in the current year budget, and officials are requesting emergency supplemental funding from the state in that amount to offset the estimated gap.
During a board work session on Thursday evening, Superintendent Sheryl McNellis-Martinez told the board the district plans to continue its quest for the funding from the state’s Public Education Department.
The district applied for the emergency supplemental funding in June, but the process requires a mandatory mid-year review to confirm that the district truly needs that money.
McNellis-Martinez said the district is currently working on the final documentation to submit to the state to demonstrate the funds needed to help the district get through the end of June.
“We are right on target with 50 percent in expenditures,” McNellis-Martinez said. “I think we have utilized a little more than 50 percent of our revenues.”
The district is trying to ensure its numbers are accurate and that they incorporate the recent raise in City of Las Vegas utility costs.
“I am involving our entire team to get a good number for six months’ worth of expenditures for this last half of the year,” said Mari Hillis, the district’s finance director.
Board President Felix Alderete asked if the district would definitely need the additional funding.
“At this point, we will definitely need something,” Hillis responded.
McNellis-Martinez told the board in June the district needs to prove to the state it is being financially responsible and can manage the money. In addition, she said the district had previously met with PED, and officials there said PED might be able to provide $500,000 to the district. No final numbers have been agreed upon, though, since the paperwork isn’t due until Jan. 25.
Alderete directed Hillis and McNellis-Martinez to allow the board ample time to review the documentation prior to submitting it to PED.
“That’s one of our chief responsibilities as a governing body,” Alderete said. “For you to go to PED without us knowing what the actual financial condition of the district is … I think would be lacking our responsibility.”
McNellis-Martinez previously told the board the two reasons for the financial woes are the late audits and unrecovered requests for reimbursements from the federal government. The district has since caught up on a couple of audits. As for the reimbursements, the federal funding funneled through PED has not been recovered.
She said the district is owed $1.2 million in those reimbursements, and it had a significant impact on the operational budget.
The district this school year went to a four-day week, in part, to help it deal with its budget woes. It has also instituted furloughs for employees this year.
The board plans to meet prior to the Jan. 25 PED deadline.