The school board’s expenditures went up by about $10.7 million last month — but the increase was more about using about $7 million in savings than the school system going on a spending spree.
The school board’s expenses for fiscal year 2021 increased from $28.9 million in the April report to $39.6 million in May.
Assistant Superintendent for Finance Dr. Walker Todd explained the school system had cash reserves of almost $19 million.
The cash reserves are funds the board collected in revenues but did not need to pay for expenses. The excess funds, sometimes called “fund balance,” are held in reserve. State auditors recommend local governments keep up to 15% in reserve funds to cover unexpected expenditures.
Todd explained that even with transferring the school system will still have a reserve of $8 million.
The board of education voted in May to move the $7 million from its cash reserves to a special projects account to help pay for improvements underway in the system.
The special projects account currently contains about $3 million in funds generated by the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST).
The $10 million in the special projects account will be used to help pay for improvements and renovations to Bear Stadium, installation of turf at the stadium and improvements to the baseball and softball fields.
The school system received additional monies from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act/American Rescue Plan (ARP) recently approved by Congress, which helped to build up the reserves.