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School Board ends year with extra $1M

King George division Superintendent Candace Brown is compiling a list of requests to go to the county Board of Supervisors to ask for more than $1 million that was not spent in the 2008-09 fiscal year, which ended June 30, though encumbrances could be accrued back until the end of August.  
At last week’s meeting on Aug. 26, Brown said the School Board ended up with $598,212 left in the division’s operating budget and an additional $470,449 surplus in a lottery escrow fund.  
Those surplus figures do not include an additional $138,631 in federal grant funds that will be requested to be carried forward. Nor does it include a surplus of $51,839 to be carried forward in the Cafeteria Fund.  
Brown also stated that the county’s required local matching amount of funding has come to $135,347 more than required by the state for the preliminary ADM number provided.


New interpretation
Brown told the School Board that the county Board of Supervisors had last fall directed that the School Board, along with county departments and constitutional officers end the year with a surplus of funds equaling 3 percent.
That was a new interpretation that Brown gave the School Board from two memos from County Administrator Travis Quesenberry dated Dec. 17, which they were also provided.  
The memos don’t say that.  
Quesenberry this week told The Journal that Brown’s interpretation was incorrect, as the whole idea was to not overspend actual revenues available versus higher budgeted revenues.

Background
When it was obvious last December that the economy had crashed, the memos from Quesenberry saying the Supervisors had approved “reducing operating budget expenditures by 3 percent” and halting discretionary spending said they were intended “to reduce the deficit,” as stated from Quesenberry.  
There is no mention in the memos of ending the year with a 3 percent surplus of funds.  
When those memos went out, while divisions across the state, and certainly in the region, were making painful cuts, there was never any mention at King George School Board meetings of any budget trimming.  
That’s because the approved School Board 2008-09 budget contained lots of state revenue that only appeared on paper and did not actually come in, nor was it seriously expected.
That’s because spring 2008, when the county adopted its overall budget including the portions for school funding, the Board of Supervisors did what the School Board asked and included an inflated figure for state revenue based on the figure from the state’s estimate for average daily membership (ADM) of 4,095 students.  
That money did not come in since the division ended up with a preliminary ADM of 4,007 students, according to Brown’s recent computation.  
So when Brown said she made cuts to the budget, the cuts were actually phantom cuts, since they relate to line items in the current year’s budget that were only intended to be spent if the division ended up with an ADM of 4,095 students, which would have warranted hiring more teachers, other positions, and buying more supplies, etc.

List proposed for spending surplus
Brown provided a May memo from the state superintendent saying that the General Assembly has included new language that applies to the surplus $470,449 in a state lottery funding.  
It states: “Any locality that has met its required local effort for the Standards of Quality accounts for fiscal year 2009 or that has met its required local match for incentive, school construction, or Lottery-funded programs in which the locality elected to participate in fiscal year 2009 may carry over into fiscal year 2010 any remaining state fund balances available to help minimize any fiscal year 2010 revenue adjustments that may occur in state funding to that locality.”
As a result, Brown said she was recommending that a list with cost estimates be developed to go to the Board of Supervisors to ask for appropriation of the surplus funds.  She asked School Board members to call her with any additional items they might want added to a spend-list.
She said a handicapped bus and a $9,000 lawnmower are both needed.   
She also said she would like to be able to make a one-time payment to school division employees who have division health insurance plans.  No cost estimate was provided.
The proposed one-time payment would cover out-of-pocket costs for employees for the current year’s health premiums, which went up 19 percent.  
 “It certainly is not money that goes across the board to every employee, but would assure that nobody took a pay cut, because in fact, their net pay was reduced,” Brown said.
During her board report, Pardee responded to Brown’s suggestion, taking it a step further, saying, “When you bring back your list I would like to include a flat amount of money for some numbers to show me how every staff member can benefit in some way.”
Pardee said she wanted all employees to benefit, not just those who get health insurance, due to the cost savings to the division of those who opt out of health insurance from the division.  
Employees who opt out of health insurance already receive an additional $40/month in their paycheck.  
Policy GDBC-R, which provides for that $40/month payment, was reapproved along with other School Board personnel policies on a motion by Pardee earlier in the meeting.

 

By Phyllis Cook, Staff Reporter

 



 

 

 

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