Western Dubuque School Board members heard the 2020-21 financial report from Business and Finance Director Mark Frasher during the Oct. 11 board meeting.

Earlier in the meeting, Farley Elementary Jane Boffeli, guidance counselor, and Stacey Cervantes, reading interventionist, joined Principal Lori Grimoskas to share the work being done in their building.

Frasher reported district revenue of $68,394,840 and expenditures of $66,089,593, leaving an ending balance of $24,108,704.

Frasher’s report noted that the impact of COVID-19 had an impact on district finances and questions remain about that impact going forward.

The report noted:

• That 2019-20 ended with the expenses being higher than revenues by over $800,000 and that the impact would have been worse had schools not closed because of COVID-19.

• The State of Iowa granted 2.3% supplemental state aid for 2020-21.

• The October 2019 certified enrollment, which drives the fiscal year 2021 budget was up by 35 students.

• The school board granted union settlements of 2.5% with both groups, with the addition of new staff adding to the increase of costs.

• The school year began on a four-day schedule with plenty of federal money coming into the district because of the virus, making financial forecasting more difficult.

Frasher told the board the main indicators of financial health are positive for the district. He said a declining fund balance of cash leveled off and that utilizing nearly $2 million of federal COVID-19 relief money supplanted funds that will allow time for the cash reserve levy to kick in.

He also said the district’s spending authority continues to climb, taking a major jump due to the federal dollars and the School Budget Review Committee requests.

He told the board the certified enrollment for the year will be finalized Friday, Oct. 15.

Boffeli and Cervantes discussed Farley Elementary, where Boffeli serves as a full-time guidance counselor in the building this year and Cervantes works with students in all grade levels as a reading interventionist.

“Hiring additional guidance counselors in the district this year has been fabulous,” Boffeli said. “It has allowed us to collaborate on different things on our lessons and I feel those lessons are coming together.”

This year Boffeli has been able to teach guidance twice a month in each classroom. “I’ve been able to work in smaller groups with my instructional coach,” she shared. “It has allowed us to support all students and has also allowed for more support for staff when they have identified a student with some concerning behaviors.”

Cervantes said she meets with 40 students a day, helping them improve their reading abilities.

“The collaboration between all staff and myself has been extremely cohesive and that benefits all our students,” she said.