Reimbursements will shift school budget back to solvency

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Although the current financial status looks scary at the school district, the business manager explained that the arrival of reimbursements will offset any problems.

The School Finance Committee held a special meeting, prior to the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, March 6.

Business Manager Jill Browne presented the proposed budget for school year 2018-19, which Browne said was presented in a new format. “I ran the report in a different sort of detail to give you a seven page report,” said Browne.

“This month, once again (in the budget), we’re in a much different place. Last month’s report showed an available $12 million, whereas this month shows negative $2,359,566, which is a little bit of a scary number. However, we have not applied our revenue monies as of yet.”

This budget process has seen significant overages in special education and food services, but Browne announced that as of Feb. 28, the first installment of ECS or Education Cost Sharing, a special education grant, was received and totaled $3,495,530.

“That number alone, once we apply that, is going to bring us back into the positive,” said Browne.

Browne reported that spending is still limited to direct curriculum spending, and spending will stop as of April 1, with the exception of emergent spending or use of grant monies.

“As we go into the month of April, I’ll be much more comfortable in forecasting where we’re going to land the plane, so to speak,” said Browne.

Browne also said there will be monies in the certified staff line that can be put towards the deficit in the special education budget.

Director of Special Education Dr. Michael Dietter reported that student count has been consistent, but there has been a rise in risk assessments and independent education evaluations. Dietter said that a number of those evaluations were for students that had been displaced by the hurricanes in Puerto Rico, who require bilingual evaluations and assessments.

Chair of the BOE Chris Wilson, asked how transportation would be handled going forward, and Browne said, “Transportation looks much the same to me; we’re still running at about $169,000 over budget in total, and much of that, I think $159,000, that was the incorrect number for the regular education buses.”

Dr. Sue Moreau, superintendent of schools, also reported that the district is looking into adding additional school resource officers, and is looking into hiring a full time director of safety and security.

Comments? Email tmurchison@BristolObserver.com.