Sumter County School District budget recovery underway

Sumter County School District budget recovery underway

SUMTER, SC (WIS) - Members of a financially embattled school district got their first look on Wednesday of an audit for the 2016-2017 school year.

The Sumter School District's financial committee was given a review of their audit so they could have a chance to ask questions.

The audit, which was submitted Tuesday, takes a look into a more than $6 million budget shortfall for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

The district's chief financial officer, Chris Griner, said the district ended the fiscal year of 2017 with a $885,679 fund balance. Griner says the increase came from expense management steps taken at the first part of 2017. It involved reviewing all positions and operating expenses. The increase according to Griner is positive and the balance was higher than expected, but Griner added that the fund balance does not meet the state's requirements.  Still, Griner said that the year-end fund balance was more than $780,000 what it was for last year.

A recovery plan was submitted to the state that was approved in October. Griner said they are still working to meet the requirements to increase the fund balance.

As you may recall, back in January, the board voted and passed in a 5-2 vote measures that would cut $6.8 million in from the district's budget by way of freezes and cash reductions.

In Wednesday's meeting, Griner stated the district is projecting a $6.2 million net income for fiscal year 2018. Officials also state that the projections show revenues exceeding the budgeted amount for fiscal year 2018 by 1.6 million.

Griner also discussed a timeline for the 2017-2018 budget, but said a more concrete timeline will be revealed January, or February.

Griner said he believes the steps the district has taken will help keep them away from any significant budget issues moving forward.

"I think the thing we strive to do this year is to do a monthly budget review," Griner said. "We presented the board with what we feel like the rest of the year will look like, we did that last month."

Griener says the numbers mean the district's situation is improving.

"The biggest impact now is just allowing the district to get in better financial position. As this position continues to improve, there could be more long term impact. This would enable the district to look at potentially adding additional resources or programs. We are in early stages of reviewing those additional resources and programs. "

The results of the audit for the 2016-2017 fiscal year will be presented formally to the Sumter School District Board of Trustees at a meeting Monday night.

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