Budget topic of BOE finance committee

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Bristol Board of Education Finance Committee met on Monday, June 25, to discuss the 2017-2018 budget, end of year transfers, and the 2016-17 ED-001 filing.

An ED-001 form, according to the Connecticut Department of Education, is an “end of year school report… primary source of financial information… data used in providing statistical information to local, state, and federal decision-makers… designed to collect all expenditure data for public school grades pre K through 12.”

At the Wednesday, June 6 meeting of the BOE, business manager, Jill Browne, said “We received an adjustment, as many districts do, as is typical, to our ED-001 report, the adjustment was a little over half a million dollars – it was $501,702.”

Browne said a letter was received in January, saying the adjustment would be in the BOE’s favor of $114,209. Browne explained that this letter was sent to City comptroller, Diane Waldron. Waldron did not receive all of the funding she had anticipated, and as a result, Browne contacted the state, to find out that further adjustments had been made but no alert was sent out from the state.

“It hurts the bottom line because the swing from a positive $114,000 to a negative $501,000 is almost $616,000,” said Browne on June 6. “So we’ve been investigating this since the moment we found out. What we are doing is recreating the report that accounts for every single dollar of our high cost special education spending in the 16/17 school year.”

Browne explained that the BOE received 52 pages of adjustments to the ED-001. Those adjustments were performed by The Management Solutions, who had been hired as the interim business office director. The BOE compared the adjustments with what was filed with the ED-001 report, and the information matched.

“Then we took that list of students with a blank page, and we went and pulled all of the purchase orders, invoices, check numbers, and so forth, and added up everything that City of Bristol expended for those high cost students in the 16/17 school year, and there’s a $467,333 difference; we spent more than what the state is recognizing that we spent,” said Browne.

Six high cost students had been left off of the list, and “all of those students qualify for excess cost grant funding, which means that all of those students exceed the 4 1/2 times per pupil expenditure threshold number to qualify for funding.”

Superintendent of Schools Sue Moreau said that she and the BOE did not know why those six students had been left off of the list, but that was “bulk” of the problem.

The BOE is currently looking into ways to rectify this situation.

Browne gave a report about the current school year budget, using the numbers as of Friday, June 22.

“As of Friday afternoon, we were almost $1.5 million in deficit,” said Browne, “that is before the application of the current revenue of $195,036.”

After applying the current revenue, Browne said the deficit became about $1.29 million.

“As of this afternoon [Wed., June 25] that $1.5 million is down to $1.373 million, so as we’re closing out purchase orders we’re dwindling, yelling for everybody to “Close! Close! Close!”, but we have to receive all of our June invoicing, so long story short, we’re still hopeful we’re going to be between a million dollar deficit and $1.15-ish; I’m hesitant to commit to any closer to that, that’s about where we stand for now.”

The schools transferred $105,568 from the “substitute paraprofessional salaries” line item.

“The end of the year transfers, the transfer that we just did was for purposes of expenditure, taking from one line putting into another line, and we know that we’re going to have an expense there,” explained Browne. “In order to close the year, the city will request that we do a series of journal entries which are not transfer for purposes of expenditure, they are a series of debits and credits to zero out the lines.”

Browne said that her office will still keep a list of where the numbers were at the end of the year, and where “we fell short”, in order to track accurate numbers to “better budget” for upcoming school years.

Comments? Email tmurchison@BristolObserver.com.

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