School board makes its final budget adjustments

GLADSTONE – The Gladstone School Board took steps to reduce its end of the year budget and to secure funding.

During a meeting Monday, the board passed its third and final budget amendment for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013. The changes mean the district will spend just under $500,000 from the fund balance for the year. This represents just over $100,000 in savings from previous budget amendments and leaves $288,116 in fund balance at the end of the fiscal year.

“The nice thing is we were able to reduce the amount of fund balance that we’d be spending this year. The downside is we’re still spending out of fund balance,” said Kulbertis.

According to Kulbertis, much of the reduction in spending from the fund balance was the result of writing down utility costs, legal fees, and delinquent taxes, as well as changes in grant funding.

“We recognized more revenues but really tightened down on expenditures so the net gain was about $100,000 to the good, so that allowed us to finish the year stronger,” said Kulbertis.

The district also took in an additional $6,000 in funding through the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. The program allows schools who modify their meals to be healthier to receive extra reimbursements from the USDA.

“There was a program that was related to the Michelle Obama nutrition push, and if you altered your menus sufficiently and could demonstrate the improvement in the nurititonal value you could qualify for this extra six cents per meal,” said Kulbertis of the program.

Like other districts throughout the state, the district also took steps to secure early funding from the Michigan Finance Authority during the meeting.

Because the MFA does not release state aid funds to school districts before districts begin incurring costs for the year, the district must borrow funds from the state prior to receiving any aid.

“It’s a state run program that basically sells these bonds and then we pay them back … the state takes it, sells them publicly, and you pay the state back as you get your state aid,” said Kulbertis.

Through the program the district will borrow $1.9 million. The first state aid payment that the district will receive is expected in October when the state begins its fiscal year.

“There are districts that didn’t used to have to do this, who had a large enough amount in their fund balance to cover any low spots but occasionally you’ll hit a month that has another pay day. So you have that pay day and you haven’t gotten the next State Aid payment yet, so you’re hedging your bets,” said Kulbertis.

“You know over the course of the year you have plenty of money to cover your bills but there are a couple of low spots where we certainly don’t want to get caught short.”