With $245,745 to go, the Region 4 Board of Education voted to appropriate $158,215 from a surplus in the 2018-2019 budget to cover a deficit created by years of poor accounting practices in the district.
The remainder of the 2018-2019 surplus, $43,000, will be returned to Chester, Essex and Deep River.
Once returned, however, the board will be requesting that money back to help cover the cost of the deficit.
“To designate the one percent statutory limitation you would have to have an unexpended balance operation in excess of the one percent to be able to transfer up to one percent,” said Michael VanDeventer, an accountant for Mahoney Sabol and advisor to the district administration. “Your budgetary expenditures came in $158,000 less than what was appropriated so that is what I’m differentiating between and expenditure surplus and a revenue surplus.”
In other words, at the end of the 2018-2019 budget, $158,215 that was appropriated had not been spent. The $43,000 in additional surplus came from revenue the district made.
As of yet town leaders in Chester, Essex and Deep River have not been asked if they would be willing to return the $43,000 to the school district, but superintendent Brian White said he will be approaching them soon.
Although the board of education is making progress toward reducing the deficit, some board of education members pointed out that there was still work to be done before they can put the financial troubles entirely behind them.
“After three years we’ve finally confirmed where we are as far as deficits and issues with accounting practices over the past few years. I still believe that there are still some that were part of this or that knew about it and had a role in an attempt to cover it up so that nobody knew about it in the administration,” said board member Rick Goulding, a resident of Deep River.
Goulding recommended that they ask the state auditors to do a thorough look into what and who went wrong in Region 4 to result in the more than $400,000 deficit.
“I don’t think we have the will at the district level, but it is being reporting back to the state and the board of education that there are significant problems,” Goulding said. “Something else needs to be done to make sure things like this don’t happen again.”