Source: Sherman Publications

Brandon Schools fund balance below 7 percent

by Susan Bromley

November 23, 2011

Brandon Twp.- Down. Up. Up. Down.

Since June, the school district’s fund balance has experienced ups and downs, but the bottom line is that right now the fund balance is nearly the same as what was approved in the budget five months ago.

“The operating deficit is slightly higher— $262,000 more than we thought, but included are one-time payments of $330,000, which are the payments made to employees based on fund balance sharing,” said Steve Lenar, executive director of fiscal affairs.

The district ratified a contract with the Brandon Education Association this spring without wage increases, but with the stipulation that if the district’s fund balance exceeded 7 percent, whatever the amount over that 7 percent was would be shared with employees, including teachers, clerical, transportation, food service, and custodial and maintenance. Lenar said on average, roughly 260 employees each received a one-time payout of about $900.

During their Nov. 21 meeting, the board approved by a 6-1 vote a 2011-2012 amended budget with total expenditures of $30,661,299. That number is $799,821 higher than the expenditures anticipated when the board approved the budget in June. However, revenues are better than expected—the amended budget has revenues of $29,663,900, which is an increase of $537,494 over what was approved in June.

The revenue increase is attributed to a higher student count. While the district only gained five students this school year, the board had expected a loss of about 60 students, and had budgeted accordingly. The unexpected revenue helps to offset the higher expenditures.

In the amended budget, the fund balance is now $2,040,965, or 6.66 percent of expenditures. The budget the board unanimously approved June 30 had a fund balance of 6.51 percent. This was up from a budget that failed June 29 with a fund balance of just 5.61 percent. Boardmembers had expected a minimum fund balance of 7 percent. In August, the fund balance was well above that temporarily as preliminary audit results showed revenues exceeded expenditures for the 2010-2011 school year by about $243,000. That money was kept in the fund balance, which have dipped back down with the one-time employee payouts.

“In total, the fund balance didn’t change,” said Lenar. “We thought the fund balance would be higher, but with approval of the amended budget by the board there aren’t any further budget reductions planned this year... I was hoping to be at or above 7 percent, but we are moving in the right direction in terms of getting fund balance up. It’s a small number, but still positive.”