The Frontier School Board is thinking ahead to buck fiscal woes it knows are coming, the same woes some other school districts will undoubtedly face.
The board met in a special meeting late Thursday to transfer $1.56 million from its workers’ compensation reserve fund into its 2013-14 general fund revenue budget. Ultimately, the money will be put in the district’s appropriated and unappropriated fund balance accounts for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The transfer boils down to a fiscal cushion the district is creating to help buffer an expected $2 million deficit. The transfer also comes in the wake of tough budget decisions Frontier has faced in the last couple of years, including last spring, when more than 20 full-time-equivalent teachers and support staff were eliminated.
“It’s to position us in a better place for the 2014-15 school year,” interim Superintendent Paul G. Hashem said Friday. “Frontier has done this the last two years, and it’s recommended to do it this way. It’s to help us protect against the deficit.”
The board approved the measure in a 6-to-1 vote, with board member Lynn Szalkow-ski opposing. The district said it had 60 days from June 30 to take action, or it could not be done.
“I’m trying to prepare us for what’s happening three years from now,” said Richard Calipari, Frontier’s business manager. “We’re trying to prepare ourselves for the future, looking at other fiscal implications for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.”
With the district transferring the $1.56 million out of workers’ compensation reserve funds, an estimated $2.1 million, according to an unaudited balance, is left for future workers’ compensation claims. Before the board’s action Thursday, the district reflected an unaudited workers’ compensation fund totaling $3.66 million.
The district expects to face an estimated $2 million deficit for the 2014-15 school year, based on unaudited numbers for the 2012-13 school year, Calipari said.