School board takes step towards transfer

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REGION 16 — For the second time in as many years, school officials are looking to appropriate some surplus funds into a capital non-recurring account.

The Region 16 Board of Education, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, last week directed Director of Finance and Business Operations Pamela Mangini to draw up a resolution for the appropriation.

Under state law, regional school districts can appropriate 1 percent of their budgets into a capital non-recurring account. The funds in this account can only be used for one-time capital expenses.

The board is seeking to transfer $384,882 from the roughly $1.3 million 2013-14 budget surplus into the account. The money is targeted to continue roof repairs at Woodland Regional High School, which is in disrepair in spots.

Voters approved transferring $244,191 from the 2012-13 budget surplus last year into the account to repair the roof over the art wing at the school.

Another transfer would have to be approved by voters again. If the allocation is ultimately approved, Mangini said, officials are going to wait to do the work for a couple of years when the board will be eligible for some state reimbursement on the roof repairs.
Board member Nazih Noujaim said setting the money aside now will save the district money later. He said if the district has to go out to bond to cover its portion of the repairs, it will incur interest and bond issuance costs.

The board will have to approve the formal resolution to send the appropriation to a public hearing and a vote. The appropriation is expected to be voted on at the same time as the 2015-16 school budget.

An audit of the 2013-14 school budget showed Region 16 ended the fiscal year with an approximate $1.3 million year-end balance. The balance stemmed from two main factors — an unusually high number of staff on unpaid leave, and lower than anticipated costs associated with the outplacement of special education students who need services that can’t be provided in the district, according to officials.

The year-end balance includes the $244,191 transferred last year into the capital non-recurring account. Since the transfer was made in the 2013-14 fiscal year, it counted towards the year-end balance.

The audit also showed the town of Beacon Falls overpaid $30,000. Those funds will be returned, Mangini said.

Roughly $647,000 will be returned to the towns as credits towards their education expenses. If the $384,882 appropriation isn’t approved, those funds would be returned as well.

1 COMMENT

  1. Roof repairs again? Wait two years to fix it? What about the water pipes that burst several weeks ago at Woodland and did unspecified damage and cost to a dozen classrooms? Sounds like the Region needs more than the funds being discussed here.