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Cambridge City Schools News Article

Solid Financial Status Helps District Endure Funding Cuts

Based on traumatic decline state tax collections due to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Governor Mike DeWine announced significant cuts to the FY 2020-21 budget including $300 million from in K-12 funding.

The impact for Cambridge City School District was significant, approximately $342,000, but because of conservative budgeting practices, a continuing effort to be more efficient with resources, and savings realized due to the schools being closed during the beginning of the pandemic (approximately $50,000), the district was able to withstand the immediate cuts without having to reduce services or staff.
However, the ongoing Pandemic effect led the State to implement an additional reduction in fiscal year 2021-2022. The impact for Cambridge was $185,000.

Despite the bad news, the administrators at the district office continue to manage through the reductions and balance revenues and expenditures utilizing available funds. They have worked diligently during the past few years to put the Cambridge City School District on solid financial ground.

That included making difficult decisions and implementing efficiencies in areas like transportation, facilities, office equipment, and maintenance that has allowed the district to conserve financial resources.

In doing so, the district has been able to increase funds so that the district now meets industry recommended standards that will cover 90 days’ worth of expenditures, although it only covers one-third of the annual employees’ salary and benefits.

Because of the solid financial footing the district is on, it plans to bring back programs that have been cut and add new programs that will benefit our students. The district is also taking care of its buildings and facilities to ensure they are safe for our students. Unfortunately, with the uncertain financial situation, the district must be more prudent than normal in how funds are utilized.

CCSD also is benefitting from a one-time source of funding due to the pandemic. COVID Relief Funding, including ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds and broadband funding, can be utilized within the guidance provided to make improvements both to facilities and in the classroom.

“We have been blessed to receive COVID Relief funding.” Cambridge Schools Superintendent Dan Coffman said. “We do have limited flexibility in how we spend the COVID relief funding. It does have to be COVID-related, and we do have to meet certain criteria. There are guidelines and restrictions put in place by the federal government regarding the expenditure of the funds.”

The CARES Act stimulus package provided school districts with additional funding to be used for COVID-19 related solutions.
CARES Act funding has allowed the district to purchase PPE for students and employees to use, Chromebooks and internet hotspots so that every student will have a device and internet access and be able to attend school remotely.

The funding also enabled the district to make upgrades to the school facilities and purchase equipment and supplies to enable students to safely return to a face-to-face classroom environment. 

“Because the District is in good financial shape, we have been able to utilize COVID relief funding to make improvements and purchase equipment that we may not have been able to if we had to use that money to fund our daily operations,” said Treasurer Ed Wright.

Cambridge is utilizing COVID relief dollars for permanent improvements like new curriculum and other classroom equipment and materials, HVAC upgrades and roofing that will improve air circulation in school buildings. It also helped enhance the number and type of activities in the popular Summer CATS Camp.

While CCSD administrators do not know the future financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic or other economic impacts, they will continue to conservatively manage finances of the district while providing the best education to our students.

Note: This is the fifth in a five-part series about the financial situation of Cambridge City School District.

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518 South 8th Street Cambridge, OH 43725 Phone: (740) 439-5021 Fax: (740) 439-3796