Weekly Feature

2017-07-13 / Front Page

District moves $1.5 million in surplus to Capital Improvements Reserve Fund

by CHRIS GRAHAM
Editor

After obtaining voter approval for a Capital Improvements Reserve Fund in May, the Orchard Park Board of Education authorized the transfer of $1.5 million into the fund to aid future capital projects.

Jeffrey Petrus, assistant superintendent of business for the district, said the plan was to put money from the surplus into the fund. The district had $900,000 in surplus left from the 2015-16 school year and $600,000 from 2016-17, said Petrus during Tuesday’s School Board meeting.

The district will have the fund for the next 15 years and would need voter approval for a capital project and approval to move the money from the reserve to the project.

“Obviously taking advantage of being able to put this in a capital reserve will help as there will be less tax impact on future capital projects that we are looking at presenting,” Petrus said.

The district is not allowed to keep more than 4 percent of its budget in the undesignated fund balance, or surplus, according to state regulations. The money would either need to be put in a reserve or returned to the taxpayer, according to Petrus.

Trustee Dwight Mateer supported the action.

“To do this and put the money into the reserve now is no different than planning for your child’s college education when they’re born,” Mateer said.

Superintendent Matthew McGarrity added that it is wise for the district to establish the fund and add money to it, given the number of needs in the district to be included in future capital projects.

Petrus said the Facilities Committee will make recommendations to the board as to when the money would be used, adding that it could be allotted to one project or spread among multiple projects. He added that each year the board will examine whether or not to add more money to the fund.

In another matter, Petrus said buses that were approved by voters in May as part of the district’s bus replacement program will be arriving in August and September.

The proposition on the May ballot saw voters approve the purchase of three 77-passenger school buses, one 57-passenger school bus with capacity for two wheelchairs, two universal wheelchair van-type buses and two 34-passenger buses, which would total $790,000.

The district approved the bus bond resolution during the meeting to begin borrowing that money and pay it back during the next five years so there is no impact on taxpayers.

The meeting also served as the district’s reorganizational meeting. Also, board members David Nielsen, Christine Gray Tinnesz and Dwight Mateer took the oath of office to begin their new three-year terms. Nielsen and Gray Tinnesz were later elected president and vice president of the board, respectively, for the second consecutive year.

email: cgraham@beenews.com

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