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Supervisors nix School Board request for extra $125,000

School Board advised to instead use $500,000+ of current projected budget surplus

The King George Board of Supervisors declined to take action at last week’s meeting on a request from the School Board to give them an additional appropriation of $125,000.  
Supervisors instead suggested that if the expenditures are really needed, the School Board should spend some of the more than $500,000 that it is expecting to have leftover in the current year’s appropriation.  
The money was requested to buy stuff in the current fiscal year, which ends next week on June 30.
Prior to that agenda item on the June 16 meeting agenda, Supervisors had been provided a detailed written financial report by Donita Harper, Deputy County Administrator & Director of Finance.  
The financial report indicated that as of May 31, the School Board was projected to finish the fiscal year with a surplus of $590,257.  
Harper said she had conferred last week with Superintendent Candace Brown who she said had concurred that the division was still expected to end up with about $500,000 left over.  


Supervisors could not make sense of the School Board’s request since the secret has been out for awhile that the division is expected to again turn back big money this June 30.  
What was the School Board thinking to make a request for more money when they will not spend the current appropriation?
It was at a meeting on May 27, that the three School Board members present had voted unanimously to request the additional $125,000 appropriation from county Supervisors.  
They wanted to spend $93,000 for a handicapped accessible bus and $9,000 for a lawn mower.
The rest would go for Sealston Elementary School, with $4,587 on technology items and $18,413 for more playground equipment.
At the May 27 School Board meeting, Brown noted that Sealston had just ordered $7,000 worth of playground equipment, but needed more.
At last week’s meeting, Joe Grzeika, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said, “I guess the question that has to be asked is ‘why don’t they do it in their current year budget with the $500K surplus?’  And there is no account called carryover funds in our budget.”
Grzeika added, “They have enough money in the current budget to do that and I would encourage them, if they are really requirements, to go ahead and do that.  They don’t need any more money.”
Supervisor Dale Sisson agreed, saying, “That would be my position.”
Grzeika polled his colleagues, saying, “Is everybody okay with the county administrator saying ‘if you really need these, buy them, you’ve got the money in your budget’?”  
Supervisor Jim Howard agreed and Supervisor James Mullen stated, “That’s what I say.”
Grzeika mused, “I don’t know why we would go into our reserve account when we don’t know what’s going to happen with this economy.  Everything I read says it’s going to be a much longer recovery period.  We don’t know what the rest of this year and next year is going to look like.  They’ve got $500,000, go do it.”
Supervisor Cedell Brooks inquired, “Is this some of the money that we talked about that we would give them if they came back and asked for it?”  He added, “And I guess they don’t want to go into their operating because again they don’t know what’s going to happen.”
But Grzeika reminded him, saying, “They’ve got $500,000 that if they don’t use comes back to this board and goes back into reserves.”
Sisson added, “In two weeks, they have two weeks to execute $590,000.”
Brooks said, “So, in other words we are saying, use what you’ve got.”
Sisson summed up, saying, “I think the agreement that we made, if you can call it an agreement, that we discussed, was that at which point that if their budget is depleted, those funds that we identified as carryover – I recognize there’s not a carryover fund, but we kind of termed them as carryover - for real and documented needs, we would consider applying those carryover funds back to those needs.  That’s what we did.  We did that earlier.”  
Sisson added, “$250,000 was the ceiling that we set at the time and the band uniforms were the central issue in that whole discussion.  The bottom line is, there is projected to be somewhere in excess of $500,000 left that with two weeks to go in the fiscal year, to me the sound thing is to utilize the funds you have if you’re in their shoes.”
At a meeting on May 13, Brown talked about the expected surplus, which at the time was in the neighborhood of $600,000.  Brown said she was thinking of spending a portion on materials and supplies for next school year.  But even with those expenditures, Brown was adamant the division would end up with a minimum of $236,000 leftover on June 30.   
She stated on May 13, “We are going to have $236K left, period.  That is money that we are not going to spend.”
It was also at that May 13 meeting that Lynn Pardee suggested asking for an additional appropriation and the School Board directed Brown to bring back a list of items to buy with $125,000.  
That money is the remainder of a portion of the surplus that the School Board had at the end of the previous fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2008, nearly a year ago.  
The School Board had asked the Board of Supervisors last fall for some of the balance they had been unable to spend in 2007-08.  
Supervisors had agreed to provide the School Board up to $250,000 extra, but with several caveats, as mentioned above.  
The money also had to be requested for use in the current fiscal year and only be spent on necessary non-recurring items, with details provided to Supervisors on how the money would be spent.  
$125,000 of the original $250,000 was requested and appropriated earlier this year for band uniforms and library books for the high school and for roof repairs at King George Elementary School.  

By Phyllis Cook, Staff Reporter

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