Schools to Request Reserve Fund Transfers to Balance Budget

Photo Credit: Robert Dorer

The Bedford Finance Committee will consider reserve fund requests for almost $250,000 in school expenses at its meeting on June 22.

The School Committee on Tuesday approved seeking a $198,451 infusion to cover a deficit in costs for educating students with special needs in programs outside the district. Another fund transfer request, for $49,950, results from an unbudgeted but anticipated expenditure for a safety and security study.

Director of Finance Julie Kirrane told the School Committee at its last meeting of the academic year on Tuesday that she expects the school budget will be balanced at the close of the fiscal year, if the transfers are approved.

Kirrane said she is also channeling $205,000 in special-education “circuit-breaker” funds from the state to help balance the budget.

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Out-of-district tuition has been addressed “above and beyond the general operating budget” for the past few years, Kirrane noted. This year, the School Committee agreed to address any deficit as a reserve fund request rather than a separate appropriation.

The finance director reported that there is also a deficit in spending for transportation for special-needs students to out-of-town programs, but a new state funding program should cover that.

Kirrane said that surpluses in salary accounts are offset by “contract labor” needed to fill short-term vacancies, and she expects that trend to continue. She pointed to the impact of labor shortages, particularly affecting bus drivers and instructional assistants.

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