The South Portland School Board reported in January that over the past three years the school over-budgeted expenditures and that the school surplus (excess of revenue over expenses) increased by over $3.4 million, as compared to the budgets that forecast a $2.8 million decrease, so they were off by $6.2 million. As of June 30, 2010, the total school fund balance (accumulated revenue in excess of expenses) was $6.75 million and $6.15 million was available to cover future expenses or to reduce future tax increases.
As part of the high school renovation funding plan, $1.05 million is budgeted to be set aside in the 2012 budget. With $6.15 million of school funds available at June 30, 2010, one would think that this $1.05 million should come from these funds. However, the City Council voted not to use these funds, but rather to raise taxes next year by this $1.05 million. The decision to raise taxes rather than use this surplus was based in part on the superintendent’s claim that the surplus is needed to cover expected budget deficits in the June 2011 and 2012 budgets. Why would anyone believe anything regarding budgeting from school officials, when the audited school financial statements showed that every budget for the past six years overstated expenses by an average $1.6 million a year?
On May 10 vote no on the proposed school budget.
Albert A. DiMillo Jr.