Bedford Area

Aaron Ritchey of the firm Ritchey, Ritchey and Koontz provides an annual audit report to the Bedford Area school board Tuesday night.

The Bedford Area School District had a surplus of more than $180,000 during the 2018-19 school year after it had budgeted for a $1.2 million deficit.

The district’s school board was presented with an audit report for the past fiscal year during its annual reorganization meeting Tuesday night.

Aaron Ritchey, a certified public accountant with the Bedford-based firm Ritchey, Ritchey and Koontz, said the district earned about $29.5 million in revenue and had about $29.3 million in expenses during the year. Ritchey said there were no issues found in the audit.

The school board had approved a $1.2 million deficit in the $30 million spending plan set in June 2018. Superintendent Allen Sell said the district is conservative with its revenue projections and gives itself spending power when it comes to budgeting expenses.

The district earned about $632,000 more than the $28.8 million in revenues it had projected in its budget, and concluded the year $721,000 under its projected $30 million in expenses.

“We’re showing the difference between what we budget and what we spend,” said Tom Bullington, board president.

A one-time savings in health insurance costs allowed the district to finish the year with a surplus. Sell said the district did not need to pay health insurance premiums for one month because of its health insurance consortium’s fund balance.

“That was approximately a $300,000 holiday on health care,” Sell said.

Without the health care savings, the district would’ve finished with a slight deficit, but it would’ve been significantly less than what was budgeted, Sell said.

“With a budget of $30 million, that’s a break-even budget,” he said. “But I’m happy to be in the black, regardless of how it happened.”

As of June 30, the general fund balance was $4.3 million — $2.4 million was unassigned, while $1.9 million had been set aside for future health insurance, retirement and compensated absence expenditures.

The capital projects fund was at $2.9 million.

Local and state sources both funded about 48 percent of the budget, while federal sources funded about 4 percent.

Looking ahead to future spending plans, the school board at its meeting adopted a resolution not to raise taxes above the index for the 2020-21 school year. The index is 3.3 percent.

The school board started its reorganizational meeting by swearing in five re-elected board members, including Bullington, Sandy Mehalko, Jay Cessna, Jeremy Oldham and Deryl Clark.

Bullington was reappointed as president of the board and Cessna was reappointed as vice president.

The school board also gave final approval to amend district policies setting the compulsory school attendance age to be between 6 and 18 years old beginning in the 2020-21 school year. The policy change reflects a change in state law, which had required children 8 to 17 to attend school.

Contact Will DeShong at wdeshong@bedfordgazette.com; 623-1151, ext. 150.

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