CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield Area School District didn’t finish the 2020-21 school year “in the black,” according to Business Administrator Sam Maney.
During Monday night’s combined committee/board meeting, Maney reported that the district finished the year with a $1.3 million deficit. It was originally projected to be nearly $3.8 million.
He attributed the reduction in the district’s deficit to increases in local tax revenues, as well as increases in state and federal revenues over projected amounts.
Those revenue increases were also coupled with a “considerable” savings in major expense categories such as personnel, professional services, transportation and so forth.
“We didn’t make it clear into the black,” Maney said, noting the district’s spike in cyber-charter tuition costs during the COVID-19 pandemic accounted for most of the deficit.
Additionally, he said the district still hasn’t been approved for grant funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II Fund).
“If they would’ve accepted as filed, … then we’d pick up another $2.1 million in federal revenue,” he said, “and the $1.3 million deficit suddenly becomes a $800,000 surplus.
“Even if they’d strike the $1.4 million (for cyber-charter), it’d take a $1.3 million deficit to maybe $700,000. Whenever this gets approved, we’ll come back and capture prior expenses.”
According to Maney, the district’s general fund balance – as of June 30, 2021 – was $13,638,643 million.
Of that, $2.9 million was placed in restricted reserves for debt service, $3.6 million was committed for employee benefit costs and cyber-charter increases and $411,434 was set aside for real estate tax appeals.
Maney also reported that the Food Service Department finished with a $37,348 deficit for the 2020-21 school year. It was originally projected to be $72,405.
He said the projected deficit was in the forecast partly by the district’s participation in the Community Eligibility Provision that provides every student with a free breakfast and lunch.
“Revenue was a $273,777 negative variance,” Maney said, “and the majority was our federal meal subsidy … That’s from running an A/B (alternating school day) schedule.
“We only had half the kids here at any one time. Even though we were able to operate under the Summer Food Program, which generated more reimbursement dollars than the regular National School Lunch program, we still couldn’t make up the numbers.
“In expenditures we had a nice positive variance in food supply … but there’s hardly any variance in our salaries/benefits. That’s the reason for the deficit. We served half the meals but still had all the labor.”
He said the reduction in the deficit was due to a $180,000 general fund contribution, and looking ahead, he also believes this will become a necessary trend to help cover operating costs.
Maney said the Food Service Department had a fund balance of $149,144 as of June 30, 2021.