Holland schools beat financial expectations - The Buffalo News

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Holland schools beat financial expectations

The Holland School District had a better-than-anticipated year financially in 2012-13, interim business leader Thomas Bagley recently told the School Board.

While the district’s fund balance dropped from $3.2 million to $2.9 million by June 30, that total was almost a half-million better than planned, Bagley said.

In recent years, the district has seen a dwindling fund balance – considered a “rainy day” account. It was shrinking so much that in the fall of 2011, Richard Timbs, executive director of the Statewide School Financial Consortium, said that if the district remained on its current path, it would run through its fund balance and likely have a $2 million shortfall by 2014.

That bleak financial outlook was among the factors behind a building consolidation in 2012-13 meant to help reduce expenses and stave off the district’s increased reliance on fund balance dollars.

While the district had planned to use $720,000 in fund balance last year to offset an anticipated operating deficit, it only needed about $270,000 to balance the books for the year due to increased revenues and lower expenses. That revenue came in the form of special-education services and higher-than-expected sales tax and state aid, Bagley said.

To make ends meet for the current year, the district appropriated $1.1 million of the fund balance on a total operating budget of $18 million. But Bagley said the improved financial outlook should continue.

“We should be in similar shape this year,” the interim business leader said Wednesday. “I don’t think we’ll use the whole $1.1 million.”

Bagley did not speculate how much fund balance might be needed to make ends meet next year or whether he will be part of the budget development process. Officials are still searching for a replacement for former business leader Patrice Beadle, who resigned unexpectedly in July.

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