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TPS Anticipating $20M Budget Hit Next Year from COVID-19 Pandemic

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Tulsa Public Schools may be looking at another $20 million shortfall next year, this time because of the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Financial Officer Nolberto Delgadillo said that outlook assumes between the pandemic's economic impact and an ongoing oil slump, the state cuts K–12 funding by $150 million, reducing the amount awarded through the state funding formula. Local drops in revenue are also expected.

"There may be more tax delinquencies. We may see that the ad valorem property values may not grow. So, when we start putting all of these factors together, we arrive at this three-year outlook here that is based on an overall reduction of about 5%," Delgadillo said.

The outlook projects a $19.7 million shortfall for fiscal year 2020–21, $11.8 million for 2021–2022 and $8.5 million for 2022–23.

Delgadillo said officials are still gauging the impact the federal CARES Act’s $13.5 billion for schools will have.

"But I think it’s important to start level setting around some of the potential benchmarks and potential implications of what a recession could mean," Delgadillo said.

TPS closed schools, laid off workers and took other steps this year to cover a $20 million gap officials said was the result of years of inadequate state funding and declining enrollment.

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