Hudson School District to Return over $1 Million to Taxpayers and Lower Tax Assessment

September 12, 2014

by Len Lathrop

In a statement dated August 20, 2014, Hudson School District Finance Director Erin Cannamucio reported to the district’s business administrator: “In the audit review of the financial statement for the Hudson School District, the 2014 ending balance of the General Fund is $1,013,199.  This was an increase of $874,850 from the prior month leaving the June 30th ending balance for revenue at $664,573 and the current year expenditure balance at $429,156 with $80,530 allocated as non-spendable for prepayment made for 2015.”

This means 40 cents per $1,000 of evaluation will be cut from residents’ tax bills for this year.  The New Hampshire Department of Revenue will set the tax rate some time in October, and bills reflecting this adjustment will go out in November and July.  While more than one million seems like a lot, it is less than 1 percent of the total school district budget.

Why is this happening?  Revenue from tuition, medical reimbursement and an insurance holiday premium increased that total by $575,931.  By law all excessive revenue is considered unanticipated and must be used to offset the tax rate.  The increase in tuition revenue came from two sources: students attending AHS from other school districts and state reimbursement for CTE (Career and Technical Education) students ($137,000).  Medical reimbursement is increased due to staff being able to bill for services of some students with IEPs (Individual Education Programs) who required medical services ($40,000).  The insurance holiday premium accounted for $262,150, which is money received from School Care, the health care provider.

On the expense side of the ledger an additional $266,000 was noted.  This represents half of 1 percent of the budget where most came from salaries and benefits.  Some of the breakdown is as follows.  $75,000 was saved from the substitute account, when workshops were eliminated and substitutes were not needed for coverage.  Clerical overtime was down $5,000 and custodial down $6,000 through diligent work to keep overtime to a minimum.  $75,000 came from staff members who left the district and funds remained encumbered.  $105,000 was in health insurance savings.

Finally, $169,700, three-tenths of 1 percent, came from purchase orders cancelled on June 30.  These included Special Education contracted services, $55,500; Special Education tutors, $12,000; Special Education legal fees, $12,000; Special Education transportation, $30,000; sports transportation teams not in post season playoffs, $12,000; AHS postage, $6,200; facilities fuel, $4,000; copier savings of $29,000; and $9,000 for game officials as teams were not in post season games.

During the school board meeting Monday night, Superintendent Bryan Lane mentioned that, in the past, members of the community had shown concern that the district had spent large sums of money at year end on projects; this year money is being returned.  He noted that this return of funds will offset the new contract costs in salaries the taxpayers allowed for this year, last March.

In closing, just a caution that this is a one-time reduction.  When new budgets are voted on in March for 2016, this windfall will not have an effect.