by Jonathan Weaver
A lack of State subsidies has put the Armstrong School District behind when projecting for next year’s budget.
District Business Affairs Director Sam Kirk told school board directors last night that officials project to receive $30 million in basic education subsidy and construction reimbursement to balance the 2016-17 budget, but it all hasn’t been received yet.
“We’re still down about $335,000 in Basic Ed, but there’s no word right now about PlanCon. We’re due this year about $850,000 due to old PlanCon projects that we had,” Kirk said. “If that doesn’t come through this year, and the Basic Ed doesn’t change, that’s over $1 million in revenue that we anticipated not coming in.
“We’re still scrutinizing every dollar that goes out to make that money up in case it doesn’t come in,” Kirk said.
The update came just a few days before school directors are to vote whether to approve the 2015 audit.
No findings were found during the audit review, but some internal inefficiencies were noted. However, those problems were reportedly already corrected.
The school district ended up spending about $3.9 million less than what was anticipated, but received about the same amount in revenue.
The overall fund balance decreased by $1.8 million, however, and currently stands at $6.7 million.
Based on the current preliminary budget, more money from the fund balance would have to be used to balance the 2016-17 funding plan.
“I am not a believer of using the fund balance for reoccurring costs. If it’s a one-time expense, yes, but last year we used it for reoccurring costs. And if that fund balance continues to decrease, and we don’t have the savings to offset it, we’re going to have to come up with additional revenue somewhere,” Kirk said.
Kirk said last month that the $97.5 million budget will change “dramatically” before the final budget in May/June.
Kirk will watch a webinar next week of Governor Tom Wolf’s anticipated plan for education funding in 2017.
Tuesday, Gov. Wolf announced a $200 million increase to basic education funding as part of his 2016-17 budget proposal.