School District, Food Service in Good Financial Shape

The Londonderry School District has ended its fourth quarter in good financial shape.

Business Administrator Peter Curro gave his closing report for FY 2016 at the July 12 School Board meeting.

Curro said at the time of the meeting, the school district had $302,810 in its Unassigned Fund Balance.

Revenues, including property taxes, are coming in about $70,000 higher than expected, and higher than Curro reported in April. He credited this in part to additional funds for Medicaid, which increased $25,000 from what was projected in April. Other revenues – from local tuitions, catastrophic aid and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) reimbursement – came in higher than the estimate set by the state’s Department of Revenue Administration in October 2015.

In regard to expenditures, Curro said the budget is expected to come in approximately $225,816 below the approved budget for FY 2016, but added that he still has some accruals and outstanding invoices to process. He had estimated in the third quarter that the district would come in $340,000 under budget, but last-minute retirement notifications increased retirement costs.

Accounts that overran their budgeted amounts include Regular Education replacement equipment, $22,245, replacing old and unstable equipment; out-of-district tuition, $396,142, funds expended to place students; Superintendent’s Office/ Professional Services, $24,605, consulting services; Business Office, $26,429, professional services, Facilities Study; Buildings and Grounds, Administration, $30,140, district-wide security issues plus repairs to Matthew Thornton Elementary School rooftop; Buildings and Grounds, technical services, $13,087, environmental issues; Buildings and Grounds, construction services, $28,731, took advantage of carpet sale; Special Education transportation, $81,305, funds expended to place students out of district; IT (information technology), $132,675, replacement equipment; Employee Benefits, $391,7721, contractual costs due at retirement; and Employee Benefits, $98,482, workers’ compensation claims processed.

Curro said the School District may expect a year-end surplus of $295,816 or better. He said the surplus will be used to cover the cost of the approved equipment trust article, $100,000; to add $100,000 to the Unassigned Fund Balance; and to use the remaining amount, $95,816, to offset the December 2016 tax rate.

Food Service

Curro said Food Service closed with an operating surplus of $31,000. With an adjustment for inventory still pending, Curro said he could “confidently” predict a surplus of $28,000 to $32,000. The total income for the program is $1,398,237, up 9.25 percent from last year. Even after spending $50,000 on new equipment for the high school food program, they are still in the black, he said.

This was the first full year that the high school did not participate in the Federal School Lunch Program, and Curro said, “Year One of the experiment seemed to go okay.”

According to Curro, the financial report includes a $50,000 transfer from the General Fund to cover students in the free/reduced program receiving breakfast or lunch at the high school. The report also includes a $50,000 one-time expense for providing the high school with equipment necessary to provide its selected menu, once it left the national school lunch program.

Although the district covered the costs of free/reduced students at the high school, it was not reimbursed and the loss of revenue was absorbed by the program, Curro said. Even a price increase did not daunt the hungry high schoolers, according to Curro.

After moving the high school off the Federal program, Curro said, 13.59 percent more meals were served at the school. Meal counts were higher at the district’s middle school and three elementary schools.

Dining services’ participation in catering special events has also increased, according to Curro.

Across the board, Curro said, “What I am hearing is that students are enjoying the food more than they have in previous years.”

Board Chairman Nancy Hendricks quipped, “I was looking forward to us breaking even!”

For capital needs, Curro noted that he had to replace the oven at North Elementary School’s cafeteria. The repair company “strongly suggested” that as the oven dates from the 1970s, it was not worth the cost to repair it.

The district also needs to either lease or purchase a van for Food Service, Curro said. The current van is a 2002 Ford and has 78,000 miles. Over the past two years, the district has spent $1,250 annually for repairs, Curro said.

The current van is also not refrigerated. The estimated cost for a new van is about $30,000 and a three-year lease/purchase would be $10,100 annually. There is no money set aside for equipment purchase or lease in the 2017 budget, Curro said, but he estimated that a van could be leased with funds available at the year’s end.

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