The Janesville School District could increase spending by about 5% in 2020-21.

Much of the increase will be used to counter expenses related to COVID-19 and for technology improvements, according to final preliminary budget numbers shared at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

The preliminary numbers call for the district to increase spending from about $152 million to just more than $160 million.

Funds from ESSR and GEER grants, money designed to help schools through the pandemic, account for $3.4 million of the increase, and the leasing of technology accounts for about $2.7 million of the increase.

The technology lease is listed both as an expense and a revenue because of state bookkeeping requirements. Despite listing the lease at $2.7 million for bookkeeping reasons, the actual cost to the district will be about $560,000 for the year, said Dan McCrea, chief financial officer for the district.

The $3.4 million in grants can be claimed for reimbursement later by the district.

Without the grant funds and technology lease, district spending would have grown by about 0.82%, or just over $1 million, McCrea said.

The tax levy could increase by 4%, from last year’s $40.7 million to about $42.4 million. The tax rate per $1,000 of equalized property value would remain the same at $8.48, McCrea said.

“Given the challenges, it’s a very conservative budget,” McCrea said of the numbers.

“I would say that outside of COVID, we had a really good year.”

The district will receive its last round of funding from the state Thursday, which could require minor tweaks to the budget, McCrea said.

The school board’s finance committee will review a detailed budget Tuesday, Oct. 20, and hold a public hearing Oct. 27 on the budget and tax levy before voting whether to approve them.