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Sag Harbor School District Has Net Surplus of $2.8 Million from 2012-13 Budget

Posted on 02 October 2013

By Tessa Raebeck

Having spent some $1.7 million less than their 2012-2013 budget allotted for, the Sag Harbor School District allocated monies to several reserve funds at the board of education (BOE) meeting Monday night.

“We didn’t get all these monies completely by happenstance,” said John O’Keefe, the district business administrator. “Some of it was by efficiencies, some of it was due to revenues we received that we weren’t anticipating.”

Based on its annual expenditures and revenue report, the district came in $1.7 million under budget and earned $1.1 million dollars in additional revenues, with a net surplus of $2.8 million dollars.

“The net result,” said O’Keefe, “after putting aside the four percent of unassigned fund balance that we are committed to by law, we have $2.2 million that we can put in the reserve.”

According to O’Keefe, the district had $140,000 in facilities savings through contractual items that weren’t ultimately spent, contingency monies and reductions in utilities. Sag Harbor took in $300,000 more than anticipated in day school tuition revenue from district-placed students and $200,000 more than anticipated in revenue from parentally placed students.

“Again, this money won’t be there next year, but it’s part of why you have this good position of $2.2 million extra in reserves,” he said.

Other revenue sources include rebates from worker’s comp and the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). Over the summer, Hampton Jitney paid the district $16,000 to rent a parking lot and Stages, the children’s theater program, paid $5,000 to rent the Pierson Middle/High School auditorium.

“You can easily see where $2.8 million dollars comes in rather quickly when you wouldn’t expect that much,” said O’Keefe. “We have the benefit of an extra $2.2 million that we can place in the reserves to help us in future budget years in case there are shortfalls.”

The amounts deposited in the relative funds were based on the recommendations of auditors and reviewed by the district’s financial management firm and external auditors, said O’Keefe, who also recommended adding an insurance reserve fund, which the board established Monday.

Also at Monday’s board meeting, Athletic Director Todd Gulluscio presented on the physical education curriculum and updated the board on the success of the athletic program’s fall season.

A total of 158 high school athletes are participating in sports at the varsity or junior varsity (JV) level, 139 of which are Pierson students (19 come from Bridgehampton School). According to Gulluscio, 43 percent of Pierson students participate in athletics, which he called “a very nice number.”

The JV field hockey team was eliminated this year because there were not enough participants to carry two teams. Seven Pierson students visit East Hampton High School to participate in varsity girls’ swimming and varsity girls’ tennis, he added. Soccer is by far the most popular sport, said Gulluscio, with 21 percent of female athletes and a quarter of male athletes participating.

Pierson Middle School has 74 student athletes this fall, with 10 coming from Bridgehampton. At 44 percent, the athletic participation of the middle school student body reflects that of the high school. Another 18 students travel to either Bridgehampton for girls’ tennis or East Hampton for football. Most of the players on Bridgehampton’s girls’ tennis team come from Sag Harbor.

The school board approved a resolution on Monday to create a new assistant coach position for the fall 2013 season. Previously the goalie coach for the girls’ and boys’ soccer teams — a position the board disbanded shortly before the start of the school year — Mike Semkus will now serve as an assistant to both teams. At least one parent had questioned the necessity of a third coach in addition to the girls’ coach, Lisa di Russa, and the boys’ coach, Peter Solow.

“The administration felt it was more appropriate,” Theresa Samot, president of the school board, said Tuesday morning of the decision to make Semkus an assistant coach. Rather than cutting the position altogether, the board decided to instead reduce it to an assistant position.

“I think Mike is a great coach,” said di Russa, the coach for the girls’ varsity soccer team. “It’s great to have him in the program.”

In other school news, Chuck Fowler of School Leadership, LLC, the company hired by the district to help with the superintendent selection process, will be at the next board meeting to go over the results of focus groups and surveys and update the community and the board. The meeting will be held on October 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Pierson Library.

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One Response to “Sag Harbor School District Has Net Surplus of $2.8 Million from 2012-13 Budget”

  1. Bob Wolfram says:

    2.2 MILLION DOLLARS should not all be put into school “RESERVES”. That money is not a gift to the school system, nor a bonus. Thank you for spending less of my tax dollars; but please pay it forward and ask for substantially less dollars next year.


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