Administration, staff prepares for decrease in funding

Ally Horwitz

For the 2021-22 school year, the CCS district anticipates operating on a 5% decrease due to a lowering of state sales and income taxes. This decrease is due to COVID-19 causing a decrease in sales tax and some taxpayers losing their employment or becoming furloughed, thereby lowering the amount of income taxes the state received. The district receives about $100 million yearly from state funding and over $20 million from a local referendum that was passed in 2010 amid the recession.

According to Associate Superintendent Roger McMichael, this decrease in funding will also apply to the state’s annual increase in funding for schools.

McMichael said, “In a typical year, we’ve received about 3 to 4% more money than the previous year, so now if we don’t receive additional funding, but rather have a 5% reduction, then we’re talking about a several-million-dollar loss.”

The last time the district used a rainy day fund was during the Great Recession in 2010 when the economic downturn caused the district to receive less funding from the state. It took the district six years to return to the funding it had received prior to the recession. 

According to McMichael,  the pandemic and funding has raised questions in the community about the state of Carmel’s funding for staff needs and other expenses.

“It’s likely we will see a negative financial impact of the pandemic in 2021 and 2022, and the question will be, kind of like the recession, ‘How long will this last?’” McMichael said.

In addition to COVID-19 causing the district to undergo rapid change as it switched to all-virtual learning in March, the district also endured the added costs of hybrid and virtual learning, supplies, personnel and the addition of staff, which cost the district an additional $2.5 million.

According to Superintendent Michael Beresford, there is no simple answer as to how to approach covering these additional costs.

Beresford said, “It’s not as simple as saying, ‘Well, we just won’t pay everybody as much.’ Our employees are our most valued asset. If it gets to the point where we don’t have the cash reserves to meet the expenses, we will have to make some cuts in other areas.” 


Kiersten Riedford

The district’s rainy day fund comes from cash reserves in other funds such as operational funds for expenses like technology that will help pay for the more imminent costs of staff and other direct expenses in the school.

According to Beresford, funding has not been an issue due to this, as well as the efforts of the district’s finance team.

Beresford said, “When you have a large district like Carmel Clay Schools, it’s about being efficient, and this district has a history of being very efficient with finances. Our district is in good hands.”

According to McMichael, the community has also been positive during this time, and the response from Carmel, especially during the 2010 referendum, has aided in the district’s efforts.

Junior Tal Friedman said he believes the Carmel district will respond to the decrease wisely.

Friedman  said, “I don’t know much about it, but I have faith that Carmel will figure out ways to allocate their funds wisely in order to create a nice environment for all of the students.”