At the August 2020 Martin County Taxpayers’ board meeting, our guests were School Board Chair Marcia Powers and District CFO Carter Morrison. We asked the District to explain to us the impact of COVID-19 on their budget. Our board was given a thorough presentation.

Instructional-related technology for FY 19/20 which ended on June 30, 2020 was $835,640 and PPE for that same period was $316,503.83. $596,628 went to instructional support positions, portable feeding stations cost $127,815 and miscellaneous items such as wipes were $21,266. The total is $1,897.852.

The instructional support funds of $596,628 were part of the Federal CARES Act, and there could be potential reimbursement of $308,000 from a CARES Act grant. $127,815 came from the Food Services Fund and $865,409 from the general services fund.

In the FY 20/21 budget, the District has hired 30 additional custodians for one year only at $1,080,822. That is due to the increased cleaning that the District must do in response to the virus. We were assured that these are temporary positions. There is also $950,000 in PPE expense and $171,500 for 350 hotspots. That is a total of $2,202,382. $950,000 will come from the millage referendum, and the remaining funds from the general operating fund.

Throughout the discussion, Ms. Powers and Mr. Morrison were very forthcoming in their answers to us. We did submit a list of questions (which are included in the attachment) in advance, and we asked other questions at the meeting. Ms. Powers stated that the Taxpayers should have an ongoing dialogue with Mr. Morrison.

The pandemic is presenting the District with a unique set of problems. Under Governor DeSantis’ order, Tallahassee has obligated Martin County Schools to open 5 days a week with physical in-classroom instruction. With nearly 40% of students choosing to attend remotely, additional and unforeseen expenses have arisen that must be met from the general fund.

It appears to us that the District’s financial Covid response is proportionate to the need.
The presentation including questions can be found here:

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