SURRY, Maine — The Surry School Committee will meet next week to discuss what to do with $500,000 in surplus funds left unspent from previous budgets.
The so-called carryover, which totals, $510,072.06, was identified in the latest audit of the school budget from the last fiscal year that ended in June. Although the carryover is large, Superintendent Mark Hurvitt said it has been building for several years and comes as no surprise to the committee members.
“This is not a normal carryover,” Hurvitt said Wednesday. “But it’s not anything that surprises anyone on the board. We’ve just been waiting to get the final numbers.”
Hurvitt said there are several reasons that the large carryover developed, including the school consolidation process. The school committee, he said, had budgeted funds to pay penalties after plans to create an RSU with eight other towns fell through. Voters in Surry had supported the formation of the RSU, but most of the other member towns rejected the proposed consolidation plan.
“The penalties were not enforced [the first year], and Surry was held harmless,” he said.
Surry had been a member of Union 92, which dissolved when the member towns chose to consolidate with other districts. According to Hurvitt, Surry received some funds from Union 92 when that district agreement ended.
A third factor, Hurvitt added, was unused funds budgeted for anticipated special education expenses.
“We had budgeted what we thought we were going to have to expend,” he said, “but insurance and the state of Maine helped us out more than we thought.”
Hurvitt noted that the large carryover had come up in discussions last year after a previous audit. As a result, the school committee submitted a warrant article at the 2010 town meeting to return $150,000 to the town. According to Hurvitt, voters were unhappy with the wording of the article, which would have placed the funds in a school reserve account, and defeated the article.
The school committee will meet next week to discuss how to deal with the carryover funds. The committee likely will consider turning some funds back to the town, allocating some for anticipated special education expenses and applying some toward the coming school budget for the 2011-12 school year, Hurvitt said.
There has been no discussion of specific amounts at this point.
“That’s what we’re looking to discuss at Tuesday’s meeting,” he said.
The meeting is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1, at the school.