WHITINGHAM — School board members are being asked to make a decision soon on how to allocate a sizeable surplus.
During the Twin Valley Unified Union School District board’s work session meeting held remotely Tuesday, Windham Southwest Business Manager Karen Atwood said money from the fund balance theoretically should be moved after the fiscal year closes and when the district has an idea of how much money makes up that surplus.
“We are lucky right now that the auditors are barely started on the Twin Valley audit,” she said. “So we can still be making adjustments but we are pretty far in the year to be doing that.”
Atwood recalled the board committing to transferring a limited figure to a capital reserve fund for maintenance projects or repairs at the elementary school in Wilmington and middle/high school in Whitingham. Some attendees at the annual meeting in February had been skeptical of approving an article giving the board authority to make the transfer with no restriction on the dollar amount. Taxpayers might raise concerns about having a large surplus after the district was penalized financially by the state for the last two years for exceeding a spending threshold, a school board member told the Reformer.
During the February meeting school officials estimated a $700,000 surplus. At the time, Atwood cited lower than anticipated special education and transportation costs for the surplus.
As of Tuesday, surplus funds were estimated to total about $800,000. Atwood said the capital reserve fund holds about $153,000 but several projects are underway.
The transfer is anticipated to come up again at the board’s Oct. 27 meeting. Moving all of the surplus funds would be “ridiculous,” Atwood said.
“I think the townspeople, the voters, would lynch every single one of us if that were the case,” she said. “You need to leave some of that in there to go towards your fund balance for the budget you’re going to start creating.”
Chris Walker, operations manager at Windham Southwest Supervisory Union, said he’s putting together a spreadsheet showing capital needs over an approximately 30-year span.
“It’s still a work in progress,” he said, “but I will try to poke along on that in the next two weeks.”
He remembered the board wanting to leave about $200,000 or $250,000 in the fund balance.