Tonawanda News

Local News

May 19, 2013

School budgets walk the line

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — In the City of Tonawanda, $1 million from the district’s fund balance will be used for the 2013-2014 budget. But, if all goes as planned, only $750,000 of the fund balance will be left at the end of this academic year — presenting what some have called a “hole” in next year’s budget. 

In response, Stephen Perry, Administrator for Business and Financial Services, said that the district’s recent purchasing freeze will likely assist the district in having leftover savings at the close of this year, resulting in a higher fund balance than initially budgeted. He declined to comment on how much money currently sits in the fund balance, as any figure is only an estimate until the end of the fiscal year. 

Meanwhile, next year’s budget is designed to protect the district’s balance by rightsizing and reducing how much of the set-aside money is used, Perry said. In future years, he hopes to use only $400,000 of the fund balance. 

“Earlier in the budget season, we were going to have a problem year in 2014-2015, but with this budget in place, we pushed that problem year to ‘15-’16,” Perry said. “If the fund balance gets to the point where it is too low, the risk is financial insolvency. But as long as we keep pushing the problem a year farther away, the district will be OK.” 

Ken-Ton is in the same boat. Superintendent Mark Mondanaro said the district has used 54 percent of its fund balance over the last four years. 

“These monies are being drained down at the same rate every year,” Mondanaro said. “The changed economy hit us and we were lucky to have some built up ... but if we think this is going to stay the same, the ability to do that is going to run out in four or five years.” 

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