By TRAVIS MORSE firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON – Mt. Vernon Township High School has ended its fiscal year with a budget surplus of roughly $142,000.
School officials credit this to limited spending and a number of cost-saving initiatives, including changing the district's health insurance structure, negotiating a new lower bid for transportation services, obtaining electricity through a cooperative arrangement with Jefferson County, and others.
“I just believe that it's a concerted effort of everyone – teachers, staff, administration, the board – to be very frugal,” said Superintendent Michael Smith. “(They've) become experts at refurbishing, refitting, reusing things that we have.”
MVTHS Board of Education members discussed the district's budget at a Finance Committee meeting Monday.
Finance Director Angie Brentlinger gave a detailed report at the meeting. She outlined the district's major funds and how they've changed over the last fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013.
Several funds had an increased cash balance at the end of the fiscal year. The Education Fund had a $222,900 increase; the Transportation Fund had a $232,844 increase; the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund had a $10,200 increase; and the Working Cash Fund had a $156,050 increase.
The Building, Tort, Debt Service, and Fire Prevention funds saw decreases. The most notable decrease was $162,350 in the Tort Fund, which is a liability account.
Even with the decreases, however, the district ended the year with a total increase in cash of $118,900, Brentlinger said.
Carl Miller, MVTHS Board president, said he's very impressed with the budgetary figures, especially considering how the district is only getting 89 percent of the state aid it is mandated to receive.
“Through very skillful managing of spending and from having a good finance director and superintendent, that has helped make this a better year than we thought,” Miller said. “It's a whole team effort.”
In many cases, MVTHS has been able to upgrade and expand its programs, even with funding constraints, Smith said.
Over the last four years, school officials have taken a hard look at all of the district's service contracts and have rebid many of them to save money, Smith said.
Plus, MVTHS staff has been able to reuse equipment, furniture, and supplies to cut down on costs.
“Really, everyone has stepped up to the plate to help (with) that,” Smith said.