AYER — The fiscal year 2007 school budget should close out in the black, said Assistant Superintendent of Schools Brian McDermott, with $1,672,195 in remaining funds and anticipated additional revenues of $91,370 from Shirley tuition income and special education (SPED) tuition savings.
After subtracting $1,530,000 for estimated salary expenses through the end of the year, the estimated plus-side balance is $233,565, and the bottom line is holding.
McDermott said he’s cautiously optimistic about the financial picture for the rest of the fiscal year during the May 23 School Committee meeting.
“At this point we’re hopeful we’ll make it through the end (of the year) without overspending,” McDermott said in a May 17 budget update prepared for the committee’s Finance Subcommittee.
The one-page report, which McDermott called a “high-level view” of the budget at this point, includes a single set of figures and explanatory notes. It states, for example, that approximately $200,000 of the remaining $233,000-plus is made up of “encumbered expenses.” That is, the bills haven’t come in yet, but the district is obligated to pay them.
The bulk of pending debt is special education tuition, said McDermott.
The good news is that spending decreases outdistanced increases, with an anticipated “net decrease” of $61,370, according to the report.
The business department is reviewing all purchase orders (POs) to be sure they’ve been either been paid or canceled, said McDermott. He promised no new POs this year, but said there are still special education cases in the pipeline that could upset the balance.
To avoid being caught short, McDermott has a contingency plan that involves an “overrun” of the circuit breaker account. The circuit breaker is state aid that reimburses school districts for a percentage of over-budget special education expenses. Although the aid comes in annually, the amount is based on the previous year’s spending.
“I’ve been communicating with our audit firm to understand the steps we’d have to take ” he said.