By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — To help the school district to finish in the black at the end of this school year, the School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to ask the City Council to release $180,000 from the Special Education Trust, at the recommendation of the Budget and Personnel Committee.
According to Business Administrator Ed Emond, there is about $187,000 in the fund, which was established to offset sudden spikes in the demand for special education services that couldn't be foreseen during the budget planning stages.
As it stands right now, the School District is about $500,000 short for the current school year that ends on June 30, largely because of special education overruns.
Superintendent Dr. Phil McCormack said the district has been on a soft spending freeze since early November and a hard spending freeze since Christmas. He said essentials are being purchased and salaries are being paid, but other items are treated on an individual basis.
In addition, Emond said there is $100,000 in this year's budget that should have been transferred into the Special Education trust fund that was not. He said two $25,000 funds – one for a building study and one for contingency – have not been spent.
He said the $180,000 currently in the Special Education Trust, plus the $100,000 never transferred to that fund, plus the $50,000 in the building study and contingency funds, and adding in the money from the items not purchased due to the spending freeze should keep the district afloat financially. He said there will be no money to transfer into various trust accounts at the end of the year.
Emond and McCormack told the committee that in the end of May and beginning of June they will re-evaluate the financial picture. Should there be any financial flexibility, they will use that money to pre-purchase some supplies and perform some maintenance repairs to alleviate the constraints on next year's budget.
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