FWCS budget remains flat for 2021 with “cautious future outlook”

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – The Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, in the Grile Administrative Center, 1200 S. Clinton St., on the proposed 2021 budget. The proposal projects a 1 percent increase for a total plan $309.5 million, which could result in a 1-2 percent increase in the property tax rate, depending on assessed valuation growth.

This year’s budget includes replacing 27 school buses at a cost of $2.4 million. The new buses will include seatbelts and stop arms cameras, which are now added to all new FWCS buses. In 2021, FWCS will issue the final bond issue for the 2016 referendum and the first bond issue for the 2020 referendum.

With a budget session on the horizon for the Indiana General Assembly, future funding of public education is uncertain.

“We don’t yet know what to expect in the next year regarding funding and the fallout from the pandemic,” Chief Financial Officer Kathy Friend said. “We will approach spending cautiously.”

During 2020, CARES Act funding, along with the Elementary & Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) and Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER), provided critical support in paying for COVID-19 needs, including personal protective equipment, technology for remote learners, cleaning supplies and additional nurse.

The budget is available online. Board members will vote on the plan at the Oct. 12 Board meeting.