School Board reallocates funds to partially shrink deficit

Published 6:20 pm Monday, December 4, 2023

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Isle of Wight County’s School Board has rescinded its September vote to carry over $213,466 in unspent textbook funds from last year, and instead now plans to use the majority of the money to partially offset its 2022-23 school year deficit.

Ordinarily, Isle of Wight County Schools’ unspent funds would revert at the end of each school year to the county’s Board of Supervisors, which serves as the school division’s local funding authority. A 2022 state law, according to a Sept. 14 report by division staff, overrode this and allowed Isle of Wight to carry forward any unspent state aid as of June 30.

Instead of adding the unspent money to its textbook fund for the current school year, the School Board voted based on Chief Financial Officer Larisa Harris’s recommendation to carry forward only $41,894 to pay for textbook expenses encumbered during the 2022-23 school year, and use the $171,572 remainder to offset its general fund deficit.

Superintendent Theo Cramer informed the School Board in August that Isle of Wight had overspent its general fund budget for the prior school year by just over $600,000, of which $438,506 remained as of Sept. 14. The reallocation will leave Isle of Wight just under $267,000 in the red depending on the exact shortfall auditors are currently working to identify.

Two Nov. 8 votes, one to rescind the Sept. 14 action and the other to approve reallocating the textbook funds as described, each passed unanimously with board member Denise Tynes absent.