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Aberdeenshire Council is giving itself until March 2022 to save up to £60m because of the impact of Covid-19 on budget plans.
The authority said that, in the first quarter of this financial year alone, it is predicting a loss in income of £8.5m and increased costs.
The shortfall could reach more than £30m by the end of the financial year.
Council leader Jim Gifford said it was "grim reading". Work to develop a new medium term financial strategy is under way.
Drivetime with Fiona Stalker
BBC Radio Scotland
The leader of Aberdeenshire Council has warned about the huge costs related to getting children back into school.
Cllr Jim Gifford predicts the extra costs will total £5-10m, which the local authority does not have he says.
He tells Drivetime the council is already likely to spend £30m more than it has a budget for before the extra education costs.
He says if the government want councils to create more space for teaching, they will need to provide extra resource.
Transport will also be an extra expense.
Cllr Gifford says this figure is not currently known, but with social distancing measures in place one coach will only be able to carry 8-12 pupils. Some schools in the rural region usually have 80% of pupils commuting by bus.
Readying Aberdeenshire's schools for reopening under social distancing rules could cost up to £10m, the council leader has said.
The authority is currently working up plans for how to manage the job of educating children at more than 170 schools.
Its blended learning proposals have seen some parents told their children could be in school for less than a third of the time.
Council leader Jim Gifford said even a slight relaxation of distancing rules would be a major help in allowing pupils more time in school.
A petition has been launched in Peterhead amid fears that plans for shoppers to socially distance in town centres could be detrimental to retailers.
Aberdeenshire is following other local authorities around Scotland by pedestrianising streets and widening pavements in preparation for the country easing out of lockdown.
The petition is from some businesses in Peterhead who say the measures will make it too hard for customers to get to them. Aberdeenshire Council says the temporary measures are designed to help protect public health
Meanwhile, Stonehaven Business Association is urging businesses there to get in touch with any concerns.