Schools Will Use $3.4M Surplus to Buy Items Cut from FY18 Budget

Loudoun County schools will get to buy about $3.4 million in items that were initially cut from their budget plan for next fiscal year.

The Loudoun County School Board, at its May 23 meeting, gave the staff the go-ahead to put money left over from the current fiscal year toward maintenance equipment, furniture, and other items that were initially in the fiscal year 2018 budget. The School Board had to trim that initial spending plan by $5.5 million when the county Board of Supervisors agreed to provide less local funding than the schools requested. Still, supervisors sent the public schools 7.65 percent more in local tax funding than last year.

With the carry-over funds, the school system will earmark $250,000 for design and construction plans for Metro schools—urban-style schools that will be built near Loudoun’s future rail stations. It will also dedicate $300,000 to redesign computer labs and other rooms at two over-enrolled middle schools, J. Michael Lunsford and Mercer, to free up more space and another $300,000 to buy equipment, including mowers, tractors and kitchen equipment. Other purchases include a visitor management system ($150,000), server and infrastructure upgrades ($100,000), replacement radios ($450,000), school furniture ($120,600), replacement security cameras ($1.7 million).

The move for the staff to use the carry-over funds did not require formal board action, but several board members said they appreciated having a say.

“Obviously, we’re coming to the point where we know exactly what staff’s plans are, but I think we have responsibility as a School Board to keep a little oversight over those funds,” Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said, adding that it makes the process more transparent.

Each year, the school system’s Business and Financial Services Department ends up with several million dollars in unspent funds beyond the planned expenses, typically the result of employee turnover. Department staff members said unspent funds could be much greater than $3.4 million by the time fiscal year 2017 ends June 30. That amount represents about .003 percent of the total $1 billion operating budget.

School Board member Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) noted that using surplus funds from one fiscal year to purchase items initially on the budget of a future fiscal year is similar to what the Board of Supervisors did to help out the School Board a few months ago. In April, supervisors agreed to use fiscal 2016 surplus to buy school buses, an artificial turf field at Heritage High School, and textbooks.

At its meeting this Tuesday, the School Board is expected to give staff members authority to spend any other unspent funds on items that were ultimately reduced from the budget.

dnadler@loudounnow.com
twitter.com/danielle_nadler

7 thoughts on “Schools Will Use $3.4M Surplus to Buy Items Cut from FY18 Budget

  • 2017-06-08 at 11:57 pm
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    These clowns would have us believe that after having $34M in excess funds last year, they will have 1/10 of that this year?! Who are they kidding.

    None of these school board members has any financial literacy nor are they willing to come clean about their tactics. They produce wildly inflated budget requests ($20-30M more than they possibly could ever use). They whine about how the BOS “cuts” their funding despite getting $80M+ MORE in funds, or 8%+, compared to last year.

    Then, they can’t spend $25M – $35M because the appropriated budget is so wildly inflated. To hide this excess, they are now having to spend FY17 funds on future items. This will actually only made their chicanery more evident. Rather than reducing the FY18 request (which is obviously inflated by $30-40M as well), the bloated FY18 appropriation will generate even more excess funds because some of the expenses were already covered by FY17 funds.

    Does nobody on the school board realize that this expanding bubble is just going to keep getting bigger as the 2019 election gets closer? We will pressure the BOS to rein in these reckless kids at the LCPS castle and return the Loudoun taxpayers’ money to them where it rightfully belongs.

    LCSB: incompetent, dishonest, and completely corrupt.

    • 2017-06-11 at 7:58 pm
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      not sure what SGP is complaining about. $3.5 million left on a billion dollar budget is awfully close.

      • 2017-06-12 at 11:28 am
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        So CareerSwitcher, are you willing to bet on how much leftover funding LCPS is really stashing? Say over/under on $12M? Or even $20M?

        Didn’t think so. But showing confidence in an incompetent school board who will be shown wrong for the 1000th time is what sycophants do.

        • 2017-06-12 at 12:40 pm
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          Once again you are complaining about the wrong thing. How close to full spending and funding do you want the schools to be? a 1-2% difference is darn close. You should be complaining about the other 98%, not the 2%.

          With funding and spending complexities of running a billion dollar organization, I am impressed. Not many private firms can do that well every year

          • 2017-06-13 at 2:04 pm
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            The military comes within 0.5% of their budget in personnel expenditures, which composes most of LCPS budget. This is gross incompetence.

            You should look up the word “bias”. If spending fluctuates +/- 2%, then you can say that an organization is coming within 2% of its target. When the budget is consistently over by 2% +/- 1%, there is a built-in bias of 2%. But then again, you would need to understand math and statistics to understand such concepts. Gee, I wonder who is responsible for teachers our students stats? I hope it’s not someone like you….

  • 2017-06-09 at 12:26 pm
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    The saddest part is no elected official cares. The School Board is off in la-la-land and has the fiscal restraint of an infant. But the real failures are the Board of Supervisors. Ultimately, the funding is their responsibility and they simply refuse to reign in the School Board. In fact, it is the ONLY thing the Board of Supervisors is responsible for regarding education. As a Republican, I am beyond frustrated with the lack of fiscal accountability of all elected officials. We have run the table at the federal level and previously ran the table at the local level and still hold a majority and, yet, nothing changes. A little tweak here a little nudge there but it is all the same.

  • 2017-06-13 at 4:09 pm
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    SGP – wait, you are using the military as an example of a gov’t organization that spends wisely? Now, that made me laugh.

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