There is real lunacy in making projections for the future based upon the current situation, given the fact that we all know this is an exceptional year in our lifetimes. Take the Payroll Protection Program that the Small Business Administration offered. The Putnam City Schools Foundation received $24,000 from this loan (for which we have already been forgiven). We might get that again this year. Should I therefore make a budget for fiscal year 2022 considering that is possible income again?
Of course not.
The smart move in budgeting is to make projections based upon a number of years to account for the inevitable fluctuations taking place each year. I think we all agree that the 2020-21 school year is in no way the sole benchmark from which we should make decisions about 2021-22. Why in the world would you do that?
I bring this up because of Governor Stitt’s call in his State of the State Address to base a school’s funding on the most recent year’s enrollment, as opposed to the highest year of the last three. His plan would absolutely pull funding from the public school system in a crisis. Does anyone really think that the public school system in Oklahoma should lose funding?
Yes, we’ve lost students during the pandemic. Yes, many students are participating in virtual school as opposed to the traditional schedule, which ostensibly would mean we might need fewer teachers. That would be very short-sighted indeed.
Those kids will be back! Maybe not all of them, but certainly enough that we shouldn’t be making predictions for next year based solely upon 2020-21. So many people have lost jobs in our nation. Should they be planning that they will be on unemployment for the duration of 2021? Surely we don’t think that.
Maybe I’m a little too optimistic for some, but my certainty is based upon what I’m hearing about parents. They are calling in and asking our receptionists if they can bring their kids back to school. Parents aren’t equipped to teach AND parent AND work a job! My prediction that students will return is really based upon human nature. Most everyone wants to get “back to normal,” and while life will never be exactly as it was in February 2020, people’s desire to get so close to that state means they want their kids back in school.
So we need to plan our budgets, staffing, time, etc., based upon more than just this pandemic year’s numbers. It seems illogical to do otherwise.
by Jennifer Seal
February 4, 2021