School District Expects Over $1 Million Surplus

The School District is projected to end the year with a “considerable surplus” of over $1 mllion in the general fund. That was the message given to the School Board on Tuesday, April 15, by Londonderry School District Business Administrator Peter Curro in his third quarter report.

“State revenues have all been posted,” he said, adding that the district is short $21,000 in adequacy funding from the state.

But Curro said there was good news on that front in that “whatever number we’re given for adequacy at tax rate setting time is the number we’re going to get for the year, and if there’s a deficit, that will be picked up the following year.

“It looks like with a combination of revenues coming in slightly higher, the fund balance for the school district should be just over $1 million,” Curro added.

He said the capital reserve funds the town holds for the district, which includes impact fees of over $100,000, will be used when setting the tax rate in FY 15. “We have that collected,” Curro said.

Curro said that they were coming in at $200,000 more in state and other revenue sources than what they had used when setting the December tax rate.

As for expenditures, Curro said that barring any surprises “like a leaky roof” – alluding to the recent tear in the North School roof – they should come in about $730,000 under budget.

He said the number of heating days was much higher this year, but the district renegotiated its natural gas contract “pretty much to rock bottom. Once in a while you get lucky, and the savings with the natural gas was due to (Facilities Director) Chuck (Zappala’s) renegotiation of our natural gas pricing. Even though the volume will be higher, the lower price will make up the difference.”

Curro said it probably would produce a $50,000 or $60,000 savings.

“We will receive a significant amount of added surplus from the health insurance provider, and what we did with the extra money was to apply it to accelerate the math program we purchased,” Curro said.

He also noted that thanks to voter approval, $100,000 will go into the Trust Fund.

Board Chairman Leitha Reilly asked if it was fair to say the district was in good shape financially, and Curro said that a million dollar return was “a little more than good shape.

“I am extremely confident that we will be able to come in with an even or better tax rate than what we told them back in March,” Curro said.

As for Food Service, Curro said they are showing a $25,000 to $30,000 deficit. The Food Service program will cover everything but the recent double oven purchase.

He noted that several school districts, including Timberlane, had raised lunch prices and Salem has a significant food service deficit.

Curro also gave the board an update on the the district’s two bonds, the $5.5 million North School refunding bond and the new $4 million district-wide maintenance bond approved by voters in March.

The sale of the North School refunding was expected to take place April 21 or 22, and Curro said the rates are dropping slightly, which benefits the district. Curro said that he has until the following Monday or Tuesday to get back to the bond counsel with the board’s signatures.

As for the new $4 million bond, bond counsel has to verify its legality.

“We’ve had lengthy conversations with bond counsel on the new bond because they have to verify that projects are appropriate, postings were correct, and from there it goes to the financial investment houses to put a 30-day prospectus together and the sale,” Curro said.

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