After being presented by Business Director Ronald Bienkowski, the Board of Education unanimously approved during its meeting on Tuesday, January 7, a request for the Board of Finance to establish an unexpended education funds account.
A public act enacted in June of 2011, Mr Bienkowski said, allows for the use of an unexpended education funds account for school boards.
“It is a tool that would be an advantage to the Board of Education, in that…once requested of the Board of Finance, it would allow us the ability to carry over an unexpended balance on the expenditures side of our budget to the following fiscal year,” Mr Bienkowski said.
In a memorandum shared at the school board’s meeting, Mr Bienkowski wrote two possible motions for the school board to choose from to use to approve the unexpended education funds account.
“It is not anticipated that any carried over amounts would be that large, certainly not approaching one percent of the budget, that onerous regulations or approval processes would be necessary,” Mr Bienkowski wrote in his memorandum to the board. “Current examples of how the funds could be used are the costs associated with storm and snow cleanups, [the Head O’ Meadow] generator replacement, 12/14 expenses, any number of delayed building maintenance projects, and our technology infrastructure/obsolescence.”
The first motion Mr Bienkowski prepared for the school board specified the non-lapsing education fund would not exceed one percent of the budget appropriation, as specified by a state statute.
“This will provide the Board of Education with the flexibility, I think, in the way the school budget is managed, because as we see ourselves moving through a fiscal year and if there are specific balances that we know may be available and the board wants to designate them for specific purposes, either in that current fiscal year or a subsequent fiscal year, this gives us the opportunity to do that,” Mr Bienkowski said.
School board secretary Kathy Hamilton said she thinks, “it is great that we are going to be doing this. I think it is going to give us the ability and the flexibility to, in the future, save for projects or pay for, perhaps, capital expenditures that we wouldn’t normally be able to spend. I also hope that we are not going to be using this account to supplement our operating expenses.”
Ms Hamilton explained that she thinks the school board’s unexpended education funds account should be used for larger capital projects or other needed expenses, like computers.