SCARBOROUGH — The closing of schools in March caused Scarborough Public Schools to reduce spending, giving the district $700,000 in surplus for the 2021 fiscal year.

On Oct. 15, Kate Bolton, director of business and finance, said that Scarborough Schools came under budget by $1.8 million in the general funds balance, about 3.6 percent of the total FY2020 budget.

A portion of the general funds surplus, approximately $400,000 will go towards the school food service program, Bolton said.

Maintaining a cushion of state subsidy reduction and non-tax revenues is a concern the district has as it plans for the 2022 fiscal, she said.

“We’ve used a great deal of fund balance in our budget for FY21,” Bolton said. “When we go to build our FY22 budget we’re going to have $700,000 in revenue that we’ll need to sustain in order to not add to the tax burden for our local taxpayers.”

Another concern that the district has is that the federal aid that Scarborough received through the Coronavirus Relief Fund ends on Dec. 30, Bolton said. Scarborough Public Schools used an extra $2 million in preparing and maintaining health and safety of students and staff in schools.

“There can be no money spent from those funds for any services or products and materials that are in use on Jan. 1,” she said. “So we’re a little bit concerned about what that means for us for the rest of the year because I don’t think any of us really thinks life is going to change and it’s all going to be unicorns and rainbows on Jan 1. I think we’re going to be managing the same school environment we were managing in December even if we’re real optimistic about what the spring looks like.”

Although there were reductions in spending when students were learning remotely last spring, personnel costs represented 79 percent of the 2020 fiscal year budget, Bolton said.

“Per the governor’s executive order, which came through on March 19 after schools were shut down, she required all school personnel continue to receive their full pay and benefits through the end of 2019 – 2020 school year,” she said. “So as a result we didn’t really see significant reduction in spending for many of our regular salary and wage benefit accounts.”

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