Education

QPS funds don't cover all district expenses

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 28, 2018 10:40 am

QUINCY -- A month into the new fiscal year, Quincy Public Schools is tracking close to last year with expectations for all funds to finish in the black.

But the funds don't stretch far enough to cover all district expenses.

"We're not funding a lot of things that most school districts do. We're relying on the (QPS) Foundation and other donors to purchase textbooks and some of our technology that a typical district would fund themselves," Chief of Business Operations Ryan Whicker said after Monday's Finance Committee meeting.

Athletic booster groups fund sports programs, and Friends of the Performing Arts does the same for fine arts programs.

"We're fortunate enough to where we have a lot of good folks in the community who are donating to the foundation and boosters that support some of our shortfalls," Whicker said.

"We are blessed ... but we should have budgeted items for those," Superintendent Roy Webb said. "That's where the board needs to work to get back to is funding some things they really should fund."

Director of Student Services Carol Frericks "should have a textbook budget," and Information Technology Coordinator Dan Ware "should have a technology budget," Webb said.

School Board member and committee Co-chairman Carol Nichols said the district used to have a maintenance budget for every school to get the equivalent of a new classroom every year, but board member and committee Co-chairman Richard McNay said the district needs to focus on textbooks and computers.

"We have to address critical issues with as little money as we have," McNay said.

Building project report

A new report to the Quincy Public Schools Finance Committee tracks revenue and expenses of the building referendum project.

Revenue to date -- including bonds issued, interest, donations and sale of real estate -- totals $91.7 million, while expenses total $71.4 million.

The report is part of an ongoing effort by the Building and Grounds Committee "to nail down exactly how much revenue we had to work with," committee Co-chairman and School Board member Richard McNay said. "We also have to look at contingency money, what money might be coming back, but after doing some math, we might finish the project with $500,000 to $1 million of unearmarked money."

That will depend, McNay said, on any "surprises" as renovation and construction continues at Baldwin Elementary School.

"We are well into the renovation portion, and asbestos is complete. Some areas where we might see surprises are past us," Superintendent Roy Webb said.

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