POLK COUNTY, Fla. -- School districts across the state are dealing with an uncertain future because of the coronavirus pandemic.
What You Need To Know
- Polk County Schools concerned over fiscal budget
- School board to have a budget hearing on July 28
- What Parents Can Expect When Schools Reopen in the Fall
- More Polk County News
Under the Governor's new budget, Polk County School officials said they'll be paying an additional $9 million in contributions to the Florida Retirement System this year.
The budget also cut some money for the School Safety Guardian Program, School Recognition money, and the State Academic Tournament.
District officials caution the fiscal future could be even more dire.
"The coronavirus pandemic has inflicted unprecedented damage to our state's economy. We are moving forward cautiously, knowing that late this year, or next, we could face major cuts," said Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd.
Finance officials said they'll apply for FEMA money to help pay for COVID-related cleaning expenses.
Chief Financial Officer Mike Perrone said they're also looking at using federal CARES Act funding to help off-set teacher salaries.
"There is some question about whether the state is going to allow that although the federal government says in their assurances and we're fairly confident we can make a compelling argument that we did use the money to maintain staffing levels," he said.
Stephanie Yocum, President of the Polk Education Association, is calling on Congress for more help to stabilize budgets, improve infrastructure and help pay for safety measure for re-opening schools.
"States are going to need money even into the 2021-22 school year so we need the HEROES Act passed so we can continue to get federal relief for our public schools," she said.
The state is watching revenue projections month-by-month.
"And no one has given any indication that we have any cuts coming yet," said Wendy Dodge, Polk County Schools Legislagtive Affairs Director.
The School Board will have a budget hearing on July 28, and will vote to approve the final budget on September 8.