Huntington School Board members have voted 6-0 to confirm allocations of surplus monies from the 2020/21 budget to the district’s reserve funds.
Trustees took the action during a public meeting on Monday, October 18 in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium. Creation of each of the funds is authorized by state law. Some of the funds also required the approval of district residents.
“Sound and transparent budget development and fiscal monitoring processes are among the primary reasons for the district’s high marks on annual external audits,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “Well planned use of fund balance and management of reserve funding also contribute positively to the district’s ability to responsibly carry out its fiduciary duties; support students and programs; and address the taxpayer burden.”
Consistent with advice from the Office of State Comptroller, the district has been drawing down most of its reserve funds.
The district’s 2017 capital reserve fund contains $4,830,750 while the 2018 fund has $572,114. Maintaining a well-funded capital reserve allows the district to avoid borrowing and incurring interest costs to upgrade its facilities. These monies can only be used for capital projects, including new school roofs, windows, doors, boilers, facility improvements, etc. Completed projects are eligible for state aid. District residents must approve any expenditure of funds.
The Employee Benefits Accrued Liability Reserve Fund’s balance is now $6,710,742. The monies are cover the cost of unused accumulated leave time that is contractually provided to certain groups of employees when they separate from the district and are entitled to such payment.
The Retirement Contribution Reserve Fund’s balance is now $5,619,370. It is used to pay expenses related to the district’s obligation to the New York State Employees Retirement System.
The Retirement Contribution Reserve Sub-Fund contains $2,141,010. The reserve was created on May 13, 2019 and is used to pay expenses related to the district’s mandated contributions to the Teachers Retirement System.
The Workers’ Compensation Reserve Fund was created on June 19, 2006. Its balance is now $2,511,980. It is used to pay actual claims related to employee medical costs and self-insurance administrative expenses. It cannot be used to pay for premiums.
The Unemployment Insurance Payment Reserve Fund was created on June 7, 2010. Its balance is $58,263. It helps cover unemployment insurance claims submitted by employees who have been separated from service to the district.
The district is using $1,600,000 from its fund balance to help hold down property taxes during the 2021/22 fiscal year.
Huntington’s unassigned fund balance is $5,572,635. These funds are unrestricted and may be used for any valid purpose.
A copy of Huntington’s reserve fund plan is posted on the district website at www.hufsd.edu. The plan includes a history of each fund, including its purpose, funding level and uses.