Income at the North Platte school district finally increased in May after eight months of unprecedented declines, but the district has a long way to go to get back to normal.
Finance Director Stuart Simpson told the school board Monday that the district received about $3 million in tax receipts from Lincoln County in May. However, the district is about $7 million below normal from all sources – the county, state and federal government, according to information that Simpson presented.
Property tax receipts at the district are still about $4 million below normal, Simpson said.
Simpson hopes more property tax receipts will arrive in June, and “we get ourselves back to whole,” he told the board.
State aid is also about $1 million less than a year ago and $2 million less than two years ago, Simpson said in his monthly financial presentation.
Receipts from the federal government are also nearly $1 million less so far this year than last.
The district had to borrow $3.8 million in early May to meet payroll.
The board reacted to the financial report quietly, asking few questions.
Board president Mike Morrell asked Simpson if the $3.8 million the district borrowed was more than needed — if it would cover other expenses too. Simpson said no, the money went into the general fund to meet payroll obligations.
Simpson told Morrell that the loan the district took out, coupled with higher tax receipts in May, will get them through June payroll, all things being equal.
During public comments, North Platte resident Bernice Ziegler said the taxpayers will ultimately pay the costs if any money is missing, as well as the interest on the loan the district took out.
Ziegler called the situation an “unwarranted monkey wrench” thrown into the mix of conservative spending.
“The problems of the last several weeks will affect us for some time,” she said. “Not only the school board and its payroll and bills — the affect will be felt by the entire population of Lincoln County.”