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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas budget looking $7 million better



The Pinellas school district’s dire budget picture became $7 million rosier today, but it was unclear what impact that would have on the possibility that its 17,000 employees may face up to several days of unpaid leave.

Superintendent Julie Janssen sent teachers union officials a summary of budget adjustments that improved the bottom line, including a $4.2 million transfer from the capital outlay fund to the general operating fund and a $2.5 million reduction in expenditures tied to worker’s compensation claims. “It makes the bargaining picture not as dark,” Pinellas teachers union president Kim Black told The Gradebook. But neither Black nor Janssen would say whether the changes made mandatory unpaid leave days, often referred to as furloughs, less likely. Read more here.

Here is the full memo Janssen sent to Kim Black and Marshall Ogletree at PCTA (it's entitled "2010/11 Final Fund Balance Summary"):

The final close-out fund balance is very much in line with that of our model projection presented at the workshop in May.  That projection had us ending with a final fund balance of $85.9 million.  However, as a result of our mutual goal to have as many operating dollars as possible available for the coming fiscal year we have taken a number of carefully considered actions to improve that position.   The effect of these actions has enhanced our final fund balance by approximately $7.0 million to $92.9 million. 

Capital Outlay Transfer: We have historically taken a conservative approach to our reimbursement to the general operating fund from the capital outlay fund in an effort to maintain sufficient funding for our facilities needs.  Since we find ourselves in very different financial times, we have examined the rules governing that reimbursement by consulting with our Legal Counsel as well as with the Florida Auditor General’s staff.  As a result of that review, we identified additional items that can be reimbursed to the general fund. After careful consideration, it was decided that those changes may be implemented for fiscal year 2010/11 rather than waiting to implement them in fiscal year 2011/12.  This change resulted in an additional transfer to the general fund of $4.2 million for fiscal year 2010/11.

Workers Compensation: In addition, we have changed the actuarial estimate used in adjusting the required reserve for worker’s compensation claims.  After evaluating the historical expenditure trends for worker’s compensation claims and consulting with our Legal Counsel and the Florida Auditor General’s staff, it was decided that it would be appropriate to use the method provided by the actuary that results in a lower expenditure recorded for the fiscal year.  As a result of this change, expenditures decreased for 2010/11 by $2.5 million.

Other Minor Adjustments: Finally, as a result of minor fluctuations in revenues and expenditures, the beginning fund balance plus revenues minus expenditures improved slightly by $300,000. The total effect of these changes resulted in the district’s ending fund balance, increasing by approximately $7.0 million to $92.9 million.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 7:31pm]


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