Committee recommends approval of QPS amended budget

Finance Committee Co-Chairman and School Board member Richard McNay, right, talks with Chief of Business Operations Ryan Whicker prior to Monday's committee meeting. The committee reviewed the amended budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year for Quincy Public Schools. | H-W Photo/Deborah Gertz Husar
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 21, 2019 1:40 pm Updated: May. 21, 2019 1:47 pm

QUINCY -- Quincy Public Schools will take in more, and spend more, in nearly all funds under an amended budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

"There's really not a whole lot of major changes, just a lot of fine details to iron things out where they were really spent," QPS Chief of Business Operations Ryan Whicker said.

Whicker reviewed significant changes fund by fund Monday with the Finance Committee, which recommended the School Board adopt the amended budget.

In the education fund, the school district's largest, revenue grew from $52,474,186 in the original budget to $53,491,184 and expenses grew from $52,411,807 to $53,465,488 primarily due to grants for the Truant Alternative and Optional Educational Program and Title I.

The projected year-end fund balance grew from $478,351 to $3,411,750.

"We're still looking pretty good," Whicker said. "We just hope revenue keeps coming in here the last month and a half. We are holding expenditures tight, and we'll come out in the black if that's the case."

Two other funds initially projected to end the year in the red also improved in the amended budget.

The operations and maintenance fund had been expected to finish the year with a $115,981 deficit but now is projected to have a $570,503 balance, and transportation saw its projected year end balance grow from a $186,950 deficit to a $506,228 surplus.

After several years of posting deficits at the end of the fiscal year, QPS finished with a $4.1 million surplus last year and expects another positive balance overall this year.

"We're still well below where we should be," Whicker said.

State officials suggest districts have six months of cash on hand, or roughly $33 million for QPS. "We have just over 30 days," Whicker said.

The amended budget will be available for public review for 30 days, then Whicker expects to make minor tweaks for the committee's next meeting. The School Board is expected to adopt the amended budget in June.

An estimated fiscal 2019-20 budget will be introduced in July.

"It will be a rough estimate. Some revenue figures don't get really solid until late August or early September," Whicker said. "The September board meeting is when we look to adopt it."

In other action Monday:

The Finance Committee learned the district got a renewal rate with a 6% increase for health insurance through Egyptian Trust. Chief of Business Operations Ryan Whicker estimates the increase will boost the cost approximately $475,000, depending what plans people select. The school district and employees share the cost.

The committee recommended the School Board approve a plan to buy a used Blue Bird Vision bus which can carry three wheelchairs at a cost of $49,500 from Central States. The bus, which has 18,000 miles, will replace a 1999 Chevrolet Bluebird with approximately 98,000 miles that serves as a backup wheelchair bus for the district.

Committee members agreed to abate the nickel levy in the working cash fund, a total of $452,892 this year, and shift the money to the education fund.