BG SRO Food 2 - JA

{span}Sgt. Rebecca Carrado of the Frederick Police Department helps student Aziyah Wade, 9, gather a lunch and dinner to go at Lincoln Elementary School Tuesday morning. The officer is one a a number that are helping at the school system’s food distribution program while schools are closed.{/span}

Frederick County Public Schools is projecting a $2.8 million deficit in its fiscal year 2021 budget for Food and Nutrition Services due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes after the school system spent almost three months providing free meals to children across the county due to the COVID19 pandemic. 

"The Food and Nutrition Services fund is a self-sustaining fund...and unfortunately without the student meals happening in the schools in a traditional fashion we will not be able to generate the same type of revenue that we typically would," Heather Clabaugh, Budget Officer for FCPS told the Board of Education. 

To make up for this deficit, FCPS staff has recommended transferring money from the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) portion of the FCPS Self-Insurance Fund (SI).

OPEB provides benefits, particularly health insurance, to retired employees. 

The OPEB portion of the SI is what FCPS contributes from its reserves in addition to an annual set contribution.

Due to the COVID19 pandemic, these reserve funds are able to be transferred because there were one-time savings seen from a reduction in claims this fiscal year said FCPS Chief Financial Officer Leslie Pellegrino.

But staff are still waiting to see what sort of revenue comes from the state, Clabaugh said, which could affect how much money is actually transferred. 

"If we are able to offset [the deficit] through additional sources of funds from the state, federal and local government anything that wouldn't go to Food and Nutrition Services we would then revisit and look at giving to OPEB," Clabaugh said. "We are looking at this as our worst-case scenario but realistically we needed to come to you with a plan...to get through the school year 2021."

Based on budget documents, if this "worst-case scenario" comes to fruition, the OPEB contributions for FY21 will be about $850,000 compared to the FY20 contributions which were approximately $3.6 million.

However, Pellegrino said FCPS retirees would not see any impact on their retirement benefits or premiums. 

"This actually helps the OPEB Trust fund as these deposits are not guaranteed and are in addition to the annual $1 million contribution from the General Fund," Pellegrino said in an email.

Board member Michael Bunitsky asked if the Summer Food Service Program would be affected by the deficit. FCPS has traditionally served two free meals a day to children aged 18 and younger during the summer months when school is not in session. 

Clabaugh said because the program is federally funded it is not expected to be impacted. 

The Board will vote on final approval of the Food and Nutrition Services budget along with the general FY21 Operating Budget at their June 24 meeting. 

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill

(16) comments

Greg F

I’m ok with food for truly needy but yeah...there should be some limits. What gets my goat are those that show up for toys for tots in their Lexus and Gucci bags and wearing designer fashions and the $500 air Jordan’s.

bosco

I gotta agree with you on this one. Mrs Bosco and I volunteer with Toys For Tots every year. A couple of years ago a gal showed up in an Escalade with a MontCo address. I turned her away since it was for FredCo kids. She got all huffy and threatened that she would have my job. I laughed and told her she could have it - that I was a volunteer. Oh, I could tell you stories.[thumbup][ninja]

TomWheatley

Great answer and yes, you will always run into a very few like that with the key words being very few.

Tanstaafl

Oh get Real! Misinformation and lying (yeah) is tiresome and needs to stop. You know no one getting food for their families wearing Gucci.

gabrielshorn2013

Is this on top of the funding by charitable organizations, such as Blessings in a Backpack and others?

cyntiast

Can social organizations reimburse some or all of this money to FCPS?

rmaghan1

That figure seems high, what where are they serving steak and lobster three times a day? External accounting audit should be ordered

Jaco

I’d recommend talking to USDA and MSDE as well as Senators Cardin and Van Hollen to see if the meals could be reimbursed through the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) or through the USDA School Meals Program. USDA should be there to at least help pay for a portion of the meals. Written by Mike Spurrier

TomWheatley

I fully agree with providing meals to the students in need, pandemic or not. What I do not understand is if the summer program is Federally funded, won't the normal school year one be as well? And if that is the case, why declare a deficit? Is the deficit for the meals (potential Federal program) or the staff time to prepare and supply them (most likely). Just a little more clarity, please.

User1

Can’t be “self sustaining fund” if no money being paid. Use to be lunch only, then breakfast and lunch and at the end breakfast, lunch and a “take home” dinner. What the heck are the parents doing to feed their families? Using that extra $600/week federal money for lottery tickets?

bosco

Don't forget beer and cigarettes too User1 Been there and saw it when I volunteered in public schools. Big screen TVs and game consoles too in lots of instances. Kid comes to school in new Nike shoes, but needs a free lunch.

The legitimate cases will rip your heart out, but the abuses will get your dander up.

[ninja]

CheetoBenito

Sounds like it. It just depends on whose ox is being gored![whistling]

StupidPaywall

[sad][sad]

bosco

Unfortunately, cheeto, it's the kids that suffer and too many grow up thinking the government will take care of them. [ninja]

StupidPaywall

And drugs.

CHUGFARRAH

Where are the funds on the EBT Card going? That should be feeding the children too.

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