Francis Howell's financial picture a little brighter

2012-07-27T16:01:00Z 2012-08-06T17:45:43Z Francis Howell's financial picture a little brighterBy Brian Flinchpaugh >bflinchpaugh@yourjournal.com stltoday.com

The Francis Howell School District's financial picture became a little brighter earlier this month when officials learned the district would have more money going into the upcoming school year than expected.

"I have some good news to share," Kevin Supple, the district's chief financial officer, told the Board of Education on July 19.

Supple presented financial statements indicating the district ended its fiscal year June 30 with about $2.7 million more in operating funds than anticipated, an increase of about 1.6 percent. But the total of $171.2 million in revenues received for the operating funds was still less than $173.2 million received during the previous year.

Expenditures were about $6.4 million, or 3.8 percent, less than what the district budgeted last year. The district spent $160.8 million during the past fiscal year, compared to $168.3 million the previous year.

Supple's figures in a memorandum to the board suggest the district, as of July 1, had a preliminary fund balance of $49.3 million, compared to $39.4 million a year ago.

The district received $48.7 million in state aid during the past fiscal year, up from $45.1 million the year before. The state's foundation formula, which provides funding for schools, accounted for $32.6 million of that $48.7 million total.

The memo notes a record Mega Millions lottery jackpot boosted transportation aid to the district after the state released revenue from ticket sales. There were also unexpected boosts in state aid for early childhood and vocational education.

The $112.6 million received from 2011 property taxes was only slightly higher than the $112.4 million collected the year before. Sales tax revenue was up by about $500,000.

The district also found it didn't have to spend as much money as it budgeted for benefits such as medical insurance and for property and liability insurance and supplies, and a mild winter reduced utility costs.

But the district's Vacation Station and early childhood education programs, which some board members said were causing too much deficit spending, ended the fiscal year with a $555,200 deficit.

Supple is expected to present a revised five-year financial projection, based on the new information. Projections earlier this year suggested the district might have to increasingly eat into its balances because of flat local and state revenue.

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