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Woolly credits staff for ASD’s remaining balance

Alma School District ended the school year on a surprising note with a closing financial balance of about $2 million.

During the Alma Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, Superintendent David Woolly told board members he was pleasantly surprised with the financial statement, which showed the closing balance at $2,290,007 with four days left in the school year.

Woolly gave credit to those working for the district for being conservative in their spending throughout the year.

“Like I told the staff back in May, it’s to everybody’s credit; they all did their part,” Woolly said.

Alma began the 2013-14 school year with a beginning balance of $383,697.78, and while an incoming revenue of $26,053,150 was anticipated, school officials expected to the end the year with a balance of $433,697.74.

After a hefty enrollment decrease at the beginning of the year, Woolly told school officials in September that adjustments would have to be made to the 2014-15 budget. Fewer students means less money from the state, he said.

Enrollment at Alma School District has declined each year beginning in 2010, with this year’s numbers at the beginning of the year at 96 less than the previous year.

“When your enrollment goes down like that, state aid goes with it,” Woolly told board members at the September board meeting.

With so much money in the ending balance, a “big portion” of it will go into the building fund and will be used to pay on debt service so as not to have a risk of showing a declining balance, which could cause the Arkansas Department of Education to put the school district under a status of fiscal distress, Woolly said.

Woolly also noted that there is a “down side” to being so conservative in spending.

“By increasing our balance this much, that means there’s some things we didn’t do this year that we could’ve done for the kids,” Woolly said.

Woolly said it is important for the school district to maintain balance between fiscal conservation and providing services to children, but added that the district was “going to be more efficient than we’ve ever been because of this year.”

Alma also is being recognized by the Arkansas Association of Pupil Transportation as a district that “demonstrates great safety practices regarding the maintenance” of its school bus fleet.

The AAPT School Bus Safety Award is based on the quality of bus inspections and maintenance records, cleanliness of the fleet and quality of the preventative maintenance program.

Resignations were accepted and new hires approved during the meeting. Resignations were Jennifer Breedlove as coach and teacher; Malia Drinkwitz as dance teacher and team coach; Donna Kendrick as teacher; and Missy Edwards as teacher.

New hires are Kristian Williams as teacher and coach; Mandy Kimmons as teacher and coach; Sara Murray as dance teacher; Kerry Shumate as speech pathologist; Shea Marsh as teacher; and Rebecca Tate as teacher.