PETERBOROUGH — The ConVal School Board announces that the ConVal School District intends to return approximately $3.2 million to the towns and taxpayers it serves as a result of dollars that were unexpended during the COVID-19 crisis.
These unexpended dollars resulted from: a budget freeze implemented by the Board on July 7th 2020, unanticipated revenue, specifically grants provided by the Federal government in response to COVID-19, and savings due to spending that was significantly curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In every fiscal year, we spend responsibly while providing the best possible education for our students,” Superintendent Rizzo Saunders said. “We are thankful we find ourselves in this position at the end of such a difficult year and are able to return money to the towns and taxpayers who support our school and students.” However, to be clear, much of this savings came from what was not done in support of students– programs that did not run, materials and supplies not purchased, and performing planned and necessary review of curriculum and technology resources”
Returning $3.2 million to the towns will reduce town appropriations by approximately $100,000 – $1.2 million, depending on the town. The Town may then choose to apply these savings to reduce the local tax assessment which in turn reduces the taxes associated with a home. Depending on the town, this would be an estimated $225-$375 on a home valued at $200,000.
In a typical year, ConVal returns funds to the towns for the taxpayers, while carrying some funding — known as encumbrance funds — into the next fiscal year for Board approved projects and financial obligations to complete the fiscal year. For example, the ConVal School Board voted to retain $100,000 in encumbrance funds to support HVAC work at the high school that needs to be completed.
This year’s figure is the result of lesser-than-anticipated spending, including an unused $1 million out of $1.6 million in encumbrance funds that were set aside last year amid the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic.
An additional $320,000 will be returned to towns and taxpayers, which was initially retained pursuant to an executive order from Gov. Chris Sununu to help fund any unanticipated costs associated with COVID-19. ConVal ultimately did not access that funding, as it was derived from grant sources. Additional revenue also came into the district in the form of higher-than-anticipated reimbursements from Medicaid and the district’s private insurer.
ConVal recognized additional savings by not expending funds appropriated for certain costs, including mileage costs related to intra-school transportation, professional development, student and athletic transportation and supplies.