NASHUA — With $700,000 in surplus funds already earmarked, district officials breathed a sigh of relief after Chief Financial Officer Dan Donovan announced a surplus estimate of more than $800,000 for the current school year.
Mayor Donnalee Lozeau informed the Board of Education that she would present the district’s proposed $97 million operating budget to aldermen as is provided there was a surplus of at least $600,000 in the current budget.
“These surplus funds, the Board of Education has the right to spend the funds any way they choose, but based upon discussions with the mayor, some of the funds will go back to city. She submitted our budget with no decreases to the Board of Aldermen (Tuesday night), and that was done with an understanding,” Donovan said.
In a separate deal worked out with the mayor this week, the district’s Budget Committee allocated an extra $90,000 to the operating budget to hire two elementary teachers to help ease classroom crowding. The mayor said she would reduce the district’s deferred maintenance account from $300,000 to $200,000 to keep the $139 million total budget for the district level. As part of the deal, Lozeau agreed to allow the district to fund the maintenance account back to original levels with any surplus funds above the $600,000.
However, Donovan cautioned that the $823,000 estimated surplus is still just an estimate.
“The key to this calculation is the payroll, because that is such a significant portion to the budget. Eighty percent of our budget is payroll dollars, so this is largely based upon calculation of payroll accounts,” Donovan said.
Of the $800,000 estimated surplus, more than $500,000 comes from energy savings.
“That is where the biggest piece of savings is coming from, and I estimate $148,000 savings on payroll, but that could change because I am being conservative. I won’t know for sure until the year is over. The closer I get, the less I have to project,” Donovan said.
He added that his hope is that the actual surplus determined at the end of the year will actually be higher than he is currently estimating.
“I should have a better idea in three weeks,” he said.
While Lozeau presented the district’s budget to the Board of Alderman as is, Lozeau has cautioned that other issues could pop up.
“A million things could happen with the budget between now and when it is finalized that could result in me or the Board of Aldermen recommending changes,” Lozeau said previously.