QUINCY — Just past the midpoint of the fiscal year, Quincy Public Schools Chief of Business Operations Ryan Whicker says the district is “doing really well.”
“Knowing we were coming into a really tough year with a deficit budget, it’s really hats off to everyone involved in spending decisions making sure that we’re really watching that to keep the district in the best financial position,” Whicker said.
At 58% through the year, all but two district funds — tort and fire prevention and life safety — are at or under that spending level, Whicker told the Finance Committee on Monday.
The tort fund pays the district’s insurance premiums at the start of the year, and fire prevention and life safety paid off some projects done last year, skewing spending for both.
Aside from those funds, “we’re really staying within budget,” Whicker said. “Revenues have come in as expected, which is really good given the environment we’re in, and expenditures were really below budget pretty significantly for this point of the year.”
The education fund, the district’s largest, has spent 52.67% of its budget through January, or $30,998,526 of the budgeted $58,849,207.
The district’s $82 million budget initially projected a shortfall of some $750,000 in the district’s four main operating funds — education, operations and maintenance, transportation and working cash.
QPS also is waiting on more information from the state about spending guidelines for the over $6 million it expects to get from the second federal stimulus package.
“The plan is to use that money to offset some expenses and revenue losses. We want to do everything we can to make us a little more stable financially,” Superintendent Roy Webb said. “We’re not looking at new things. I think we’re doing everything required, but you’ve taken some hits financially because of the pandemic, so we want to be very conservative with those dollars.”
Whicker said the federal funds will reimburse district spending.
“It won’t be here’s $6 million directly into your bank account. That’s not how it works,” he said.
But Webb said the spending could stretch into 2022. “We’ll have some time to spend those dollars,” he said.
Also Monday, committee members:
• Discussed bus bids and recommended the School Board accept the bid from Central States Bus Sales Inc.
QPS sought bids to lease, or lease to own, 32 buses in several different sizes and configurations, and the cost was $2,646,002 from Central States and $2,461,755 from Midwest Transit Equipment.
But “when factoring in a conservative estimate for reimbursement per the annual transportation claim, Central States’ bid came in at $1,106,433, and Midwest Transit’s bid came in at $1,115,260, resulting in Central States having a lower net cost to Quincy Public Schools,” Whicker and Transportation Director Shane Barnes wrote in a memo to committee members and board members.
The difference in reimbursement rate is due to Midwest charging a higher interest rate, Whicker said, and QPS cannot claim interest payments in its reimbursement.
Under state law, QPS also can look at comfort and safety for students and reliability in deciding bus bids. Whicker said the district has had concerns about some Midwest Transit buses not heating up properly in the interior due to the front end design along with some reliability issues with the company.
• Recommended the School Board accept the food and nonfood bid totaling $479,031.93 from Kohl Wholesale for the rest of the 2020-21 school year. The bid increased 2.59% over the 2020 spring semester bid.
Kohl and U.S. Food Service bid on the items, but U.S. Food Service missed the bid deadline and added a contract addendum which did not meet bid specifications.