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BOE Hears February Financial Report



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While the school district’s 2021-22 budget is projecting a positive balance, district Director of Business and Finance Tanja Vadas delivered a detailed monthly financial report to the Board of Education (BOE) at its March 15 meeting.

The report showed that in the eighth month of the 2021-22 budget year, the school district spent approximately $5.7 million.

“The current year-end projected balance is showing a positive position of $231,130,” the report reads. “This balance has increased over the prior month projection by $102,335.”

As outlined by Vadas at the meeting and in the report, there were “major movers” in the budget over the month.

The salaries account is showing a positive balance of $282,897, which is an increase over the prior month’s projection, the report shares. The majority of change comes from the non-certified salary accounts.

According to the report there is a projected balance of $39,157 for educational assistants; the projected year-end balance for special education service salaries increased due to a position opening and an allocation from the excess cost grant; and a projection for the certified salary account was increased by $36,573 based on daily and building substitute projects with a note that reads, “We are still having difficulty filling these open positions and have adjusted this projection based on the current trend.”

The report also shared Purchased Services currently has a year-end projected balance of negative $7,894. This portion of the report notes $75,000 was encumbered for service that provides behavioral therapists, a service that must be requested through a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP); out-of-district transportation costs impacted the projection; and the out-of-district tuition projection continues to fluctuate “due to constant changes that occur in the Special Education Department.”

Vadas also wrote in the report, “The excess cost grant was recalculated and submitted to the state on March 1. Minor adjustments were made to this submission as we captured changes that occurred between December through February. The changes were for various reasons, such as, reduction/increase in services for students, attendance, and changes in transportation. Overall, the projected grant revenue has been adjusted by -$79,578, yielding a new estimated total of $1,533,532.

“We have received the first payment from this grant, which is 75% of the total estimate, or $1,209,833. The balance is due to come in sometime in May,” the report reads. “We are still estimating the reimbursement rate of 81.98%; however, this is subject to change and any changes will be reflected in the May deposit.”

Transportation Decision Parked

With the school district’s current contract with All-Star Transportation, which oversees the majority of bus routes for the district, set to end with the school year, Superintendent of Schools Dr Lorrie Rodrigue shared an update on the bid process with the school board at the March 15 meeting.

One bid was received by the district for the contract, and Rodrigue said the district would like time to review the Request For Proposal (RFP) before the bid is awarded. The superintendent suggested scheduling and holding an executive session meeting for the school board with the district’s attorney to review the RFP.

Rodrigue reminded the school board that there have been multiple transportation issues — like a shortage of bus drivers — during the pandemic, and Newtown is not alone in facing those issues. Rodrigue said the district needs to “get a handle on this” before awarding the bid.

With consent from the school board, Chair Deborra Zukowski said the meeting will be slated. According to meeting discussion, the executive session will likely be slated within the week.

The school board also heard a presentation from Newtown High School Principal Dr Kimberly Longobucco and students on the high school’s Capstone Projects. A story on that presentation will be in next week’s print edition of The Newtown Bee.

Education Editor Eliza Hallabeck can be reached at eliza@thebee.com.

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