District ends December $200,000 in the black

Derik Vanderford Staff Writer

January 15, 2014

UNION COUNTY — This week’s meeting of the Union County Board of School Trustees included presentations of the monthly budget summary and a progress report regarding the district IT department’s moving to a new location.

Budget Summary

Union County School District Financial Officer Lynn Lawson reported at Monday’s meeting that, as of Dec. 31, 2013, recorded revenues were $10,407,558 and posted expenses were $10,207,235, which produces a positive operating result of $200,323 for the end of the calendar year — the mid-point of the district’s June-July fiscal year.

“At this time, all of our numbers are in line with budget,” Lawson said. “We have numerous local, state and federal funding sources to track, and each of these sources are available at different times.”

Lawson said some funds are received monthly for 12 months, while others are in one-time lump sums or installments of varying amounts. He said local taxes make up 20 percent of the operating budget, and the majority of the local funds are received between December and February each year, coinciding with property tax notices. Lawson also said state funding provides approximately 80 percent of the operating funds.

“These state funds are also trending as expected, with at least 50 percent or more being received by Dec. 31,” Lawson said.

Lawson said the district’s expenditures are the part of its operating financials that is like most any other business.

“Salaries and benefits make up nearly 90 percent of our budgeted costs,” he said. “The remaining 10 percent of costs are for utilities, insurance, supplies, contracted services, etc. Basically, all the things it takes for the garbage pick-up, materials and equipment to work with, and keeping the lights on.”

As with revenues, Lawson said at this point in the year, there have been no major surprises or negative trends in the district’s operating expenses.

IT Department Moving

Lawson also gave a progress report regarding the district’s Information/Technology (IT) Department move. As a result of the upcoming program expansion at the UCHS Career and Technology (CATE) Center, the district will move its IT Department and network server hub to the District Office Annex (formerly known as P.E.R.C.). The move will allow for extra room at the CATE Center, which is needed by one of the new classes.

“Everyone knows how critical technology, computer networks, and communications are for everything we do today,” Lawson said. “So many of our activities are dependent upon network and Internet connections for daily communication, delivering classroom information, computer controlled building and maintenance systems, financial systems, etc. This move involves detailed planning to insure that it goes smoothly and does not disrupt operations.”

Lawson said the State Department of Education provides funding for the most expensive part of the project — the installation of communication lines by AT&T — which is an essential step that controls the time-line for completion.

“We appreciate the help and responsiveness that we have received from AT&T and their contractors,” Lawson said. “Fortunately, District IT and Maintenance have excellent technical and skilled people in Tim Barnado, Jay Childers, Billy Scott, and the teams that they work with. This group is working together to complete the necessary modifications and installations.”

Lawson said the move is expected to be complete within the next couple months.