CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield Area School District finished the 2011-12 academic year with a $327,032 surplus, according to Business Administrator Sam Maney, who reported the district’s fiscal results at Monday night’s school board meeting.
Maney said the district originally anticipated a $1,725,944 deficit. However, he said the district finished ahead primarily because of increases in local tax revenues and additional state revenues that were more than the anticipated amounts. Those were coupled with the “considerable savings in major expense categories,” such as personnel and utilities.
He said the district budgeted its fund balance at just under $5 million at the beginning of the school year. He said the district actually started with a fund balance that totaled $6.7 million, or $1.8 million higher than it initially anticipated.
In 2011-12, Maney said the district’s revenues were budgeted at $31.4 million; however, they came in at $33.4 million for a little more than a $2 million positive variance. Maney said expenditures were budgeted at $33.1 million and came in, in the same amount.
When anticipating the $1.7 million deficit, he said the district appeared as though it would end the 2011-12 academic year with a $3.1 million fund balance. As of June 30, he said it has a $7 million fund balance, which is $3.9 million more than it had originally anticipated.
Overall, Maney said local tax revenues were up, as compared to what it had anticipated in the budget, by just under $1 million. Of that, he said $531,000 came from current real estate collections. He said this could be attributed to him budgeting in the neighborhood of an 88 percent collection rate. However, he said the district collected more than 91 percent.
According to him, delinquent real estate taxes have been holding steady given the economic circumstances that this area has been under. He said that the district received $187,000 more than he had anticipated for the year, as well as $21,000 more from real estate transfer tax.
In addition, Maney said after the governor released his budget, the state released another allotment to all the school districts on a pro rata basis. He said the Clearfield schools received $262,000 that wasn’t in its original budget.
Maney said he’d also budgeted the district’s vocational education funding conservatively, as it’s been an area of uncertainty in recent years. If it would continue to come in higher, he said they could consider adjusting their budgeted amount in the future and being more aggressive in this area.
Maney said the state also announced the accountability block grant after the district had finalized its budget. He said this accounted for an additional $250,000 that wasn’t originally included in its budget.
Under expenses he said the district’s personnel savings was slightly more than $1 million. He said this could be attributed to retirements announced later in the year, positions built into the budget that it didn’t have to fill and overtime and substitute costs that it didn’t have to pay, as well as all of the benefits that go along with these personnel items.
Maney said the district experienced a utilities savings of $350,000 due to the mild winter and favorable utilities. He said transportation costs were also $205,000 less than what had been budgeted.
He said due to the substantial expenditure savings, the district was able to transfer an additional $1,932,325 in unspent monies into the capital project fund for the school year. As of June 30, he said the district’s general fund balance was $7,073,828, which included $4,723,174 of reserves earmarked for debt service obligations and projected Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) increases.
Maney said the food services department experienced a $40,351 deficit for the 2011-12 academic year. He said the deficit resulted from decreases in student meals and related state and federal subsidy payments that were coupled with increases in personnel costs. He said the uncommitted/undesignated fund balance of the food service fund was $564,051 as of June 30.
“I always paint the worst picture,” said Maney. “I don’t like to budget money that the district doesn’t have and err on the side of caution. If the district ever wanted me to be more aggressive in budgeting, I’d probably resist doing that. I don’t think it’s always going to end this way.”