(Atlantic) Gary Sinclair, Financial Support Co-Director for the Iowa Association of School Boards, presented a financial report to the Atlantic School Board during a budget work session Saturday morning.
“I think it’s critical for you as a board and as a community to understand that even with the concerns that you have you are at the state median, you are not in a crisis of current status, future status is what you need to deal with,” said Sinclair.
Sinclair explained what happened in FY2013 when the districts solvency ratio went from 8.6 percent to 0.1 percent.
“The district was essentially spending the money for dropout prevention, or for TAG, or for Title, but it was getting coded to a different fund,” explained Sinclair. “It was saying essentially that money is not obligated, so my solvency’s going to be a little higher.”
And, Sinclair said the district overspent their annual authority 7.9 percent in FY2012 and 8.7 percent in FY2013.
“I don’t have the capacity to point fingers and to blame anybody, but part of my job is to challenge how did this happen, where did it come from,” stated Sinclair. “We identified a significant, almost unreasonable increase in Special Ed. cost in FY2012, in fact it went from a zero unspent balance to a negative $685,000 deficit in one year. So as I look at why that overspending in FY2012, that’s what I would attribute most of it to.”
Sinclair’s recommendation to the School Board was that the focus needs to be on the unspent balance and deal with the cash as they have to.
Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein said they have two main targets to look at; know where the board would like to be as far as the unspent balance and take a look at where a target area might be for a levy rate.
The Atlantic School Board will focus on those issues during budget discussions at their school board meeting Monday night.