Sussex. The Sussex-Wantage Regional School District on Jan. 27 received a “very strong” audit of its 2020-21 budget in a report from its district auditor. Heidi Wohlleb of Nisivoccia, LLP said the district was in good financial shape and offered two minor recommendations. Her report included the following points:
● The district – in 2020-21 – had an overall revenue excess of $243,000 despite a $73,000 shortfall in local revenue that came from a shorts in tuition revenue of $24,000, transportation of $22,720 and an unrestricted miscellaneous revenue of $47,000. These shortages were offset by a $21,000 surplus in restricted miscellaneous revenue.
● The district received $309,000 more state aid than projected due to extraordinary special education costs, and a $7,500 excess in federal aid due to Medicaid reimbursements.
● The district spent only about $22.1 million of its approved $26.8 million budget for 2020-21, including about $1.4 million budgeted for purchase orders on or before June 30, 2021, that were not paid because those services hadn’t yet been rendered.
● The district finished last school year with about $3.3 million in fund balances, with about $2.1 million of that excess surplus required to be used in the district’s 2022-23 budget.
● The district’s Capital Reserve Fund contains about $1.2 million, which can be used for the local share of projects in the district’s facilities plan.
● The district has also established a maintenance reserve of $250,000, which Wohlleb described as “very wise” and the easiest fund to use, since it can be accessed by school board resolution. “A lot of districts have been establishing them, especially due to Covid expenses,” Wohlleb said. “The maintenance fund can be used for projects in the Comprehensive Maintenance Plan.”
● The district has an Unemployment Reserve of about $500,000.
● That leaves the district with about $1.2 million in unassigned fund balance, 4 percent of the budget, which is the maximum it can carry. Legislation has recently allowed districts to carry a 4 percent unassigned fund balance, but it is expected to return to 2 percent after 2022-23.