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WCSD panel addresses uncertain finances

September 1, 2010
Two state and federal budget changes, each close to half-a-million dollars, sent the Warren County School District budget for a loop — right back to where it started. At the Tuesday night meeting of the finance committee, committee members were told that a federal medical assistance program (FMAP) subsidy change at the state level cut the district’s allocation by about $314,000. When the federal budget finally came through, the allocation was further revised downward a little more than $152,000, leaving the district’s revenues down $467,000. On the expenditure side, the district’s state mandate contribution to the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) went down from 8.22 percent to 5.67 percent. That saves the district about $494,000. “It was pretty much a wash,” Business Administrator Petter Turnquist said. Another state and federal budget issue caused some accounting problems for the district regarding American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) dollars. “The state threw us a curve late in the game,” Superintendent Dr. Robert Terrill said. “We had to balance it.” “The state said we were going to get so much stimulus money,” Terrill said. The district acted on that initial announcement. “We were short $138,000” when the final numbers came in. “It was nothing this school district did,” Terrill said. “They didn’t give us really good guidance in the beginning,” Turnquist said. The state changed not only the amount allocated to the district, but what the district could spend that money on, causing some additional work to reallocate the dollars within the budget. The district may come up with some substantial funds thanks to actions of its own. Last year, the board approved automatic refinancing of bonds issued in 2003 and 2004 when the savings amounted to at least $325,000. “The estimates now are $350,000,” Turnquist said. Pulling the trigger on that deal would not require further board action. Turnquist said he would keep the board members posted. The committee will meet again on Sept. 28 following the personnel committee meeting at the Warren County Career Center.


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