The Bement school district is on sound financial footing, according to a report received by the school board at its monthly meeting Aug. 14.
School Superintendent Sheila Greenwood said the district beat 2018-19 budget projections in two of its three major operating funds, including a $157,089 surplus in the education fund.
Revenue also beat expenses in the operation and maintenance fund by $30,283.
The only blemish was transportation, which ended up $32,841 in the red, a familiar theme in recent years, partially due to the state delaying and missing reimbursement payments.
When all funds are taken into account, the estimated district revenues for the year exceeded costs by about $194,732, about $130,000 better than budget projections, which pegged a $64,679 surplus.
Bement began the current fiscal year on July 1 with about $2.2 million in fund balances, including $500,000 in the working cash fund that can help out when other line items experience cash flow issues.
Lower interest rates will also help the district save on loans after it refinances borrowing that is currently on its books.
“We ended up getting an interest rate of 2.08 (percent),” said Greenwood. “So we are actually saving $39,571 just by refunding those and going with a lower interest rate.”
That savings is more than the $22,000 in estimated savings reported in July.
“They say if you can save 2 percent it’s worthwhile (to refinance). And on this we saved 6.2 percent, so we came out in really good shape on that,” added the superintendent.
She said the 1 percent school facilities sales tax has also been useful in maintaining buildings and grounds. It has been used for playground equipment, roof replacement, and refinishing the floor in the high school’s main corridor.
“That’s been a nice thing for us. It allowed us to do some things that we could not have done,” said Greenwood.
She added the district received $21,504 in Rural Education Achievement Program funds this year, well above the typical $13,000 to $17,000. It will be used for curriculum and classroom supply purchases, in addition to updates for the high school computer lab.
Bement High School is expected to start the school year with an enrollment of 97, close to last year’s 99 to start the year. The largest class is freshmen at 31 students, followed by sophomore (24), juniors (22) and seniors (20).
Pre-kindergarten through eighth grade enrollment is estimated at 155, with the largest enrollment being in second (28) and fifth (27) grades.
In other action, the board:
–reappointed Jani Hamilton as the school treasurer, and the State Bank of Bement as district depositor;
–approved the following hires: Rachel Riley-Halliday, high school scholastic bowl coach; Stephanie Eccles and Jill Clodfelter, high school student council sponsors; Melissa Appletree, high school English teacher;
–approved the resignation of Annie Hobson, high school English teacher;
–used Chromebooks for the first time at a board meeting;
–approved a one-year extension on its contract with Birch Bus, with a 1.5 percent increase scheduled;
–was reminded the district open house will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29; and
–was informed by Middle/High School Principal Doug Kepley that the marching band’s show this year is “Guardians of the Galaxy.”