WALLINGFORD — School administrators are projecting the district will end the fiscal year with a nearly $3.3 million surplus, largely accumulated from savings related to the coronavirus shutdown.
“We had a huge increase in the surplus … and that increase was primarily related to the shutdown,” business manager Dominic Barone said during the Board of Education’s Operations Committee meeting Monday night.
The projection is based on an assumption students will not return this spring, which would save the district nearly $2.5 million on top of the $800,000 surplus administrators were already expecting. No decisions have been made about returning students to physical classrooms after May 20.
School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo said he’s working with Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. on a plan to return $1 million of the surplus to the town.
“We have a reputation, and I want to maintain that, of being a partner and I think the mayor respects that and I believe many of the citizens do as well,” Menzo said.
Out of the remaining $2.3 million surplus, approximately $365,000 would be needed to shore up the food service program as it continues to feed students for free at sites around town.
The board had also already approved the use of $400,000 in surplus money to purchase curriculum materials and the administration plans to set aside another $586,000 for items on the board’s strategic plan, mostly capital improvements.
After the expected transfers, the surplus would be whittled to an estimated $905,000, which Barone said the Board of Education has discretion to spend.
The bulk of the surplus comes from not having to pay for student transportation during the shutdown, which is expected to save the district just under $2 million through the end of the school year.
The cost of salaries is expected to fall around $353,000, largely due to not having to pay for substitutes when teachers are sick, and an additional $150,000 is expected to be saved in tuition for students with outplacements.
The final figure is not yet known, however, as the district adds in the cost of purchasing extra technology for students to take home, such as internet hotspots.
Menzo is also hoping to see some savings on the district’s health insurance, since district staff are largely unable to make routine, nonessential appointments during the shutdown.
The district will also have to replenish its stock of health supplies, including replacing masks, gloves and sanitizer.