ConVal School District to return $3.2 million to towns and taxpayers

  • A ConVal School District bus. (Benji Rosen/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Benji Rosen

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/21/2021 4:23:18 PM

The ConVal School Board announced that about $3.2 million will be returned to the towns and taxpayers the district serves, from money that went unspent due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

School Board Chair Tim Theberge said that while the district regularly returns funds, this year’s figure is “significantly more than usual.”

The returned funds are high this year due to a number of factors, Theberge said. One of these was the fact that the board had carried over some funds from the previous year – known as an encumbrance fund – amounting to $1.6 million for special education services, and most of that money did not end up getting spent. 

In addition, statewide emergency orders last year allowed the board to reserve more of their fund balance than usual, but that money also did not end up getting spent and will now be returned to the towns.

Theberge said that the board also froze the budget in July last year. This measure was originally intended to allow for spending control, because the board anticipated the need to save money for costs related to COVID-19. In the end, Theberge said, most of these costs were covered by federal funding that the board did not anticipate at the time, and now the resulting savings from the budget freeze will be returned to the towns.

An important note, Theberge said, is that while this procedure is in line with regular School Board protocol, taxpayers should be aware that this kind of return in funds is unlikely to be a pattern.

“We always give back money,” Theberge said, “it’s just never this high – and won’t be again.”

“We are thankful we find ourselves in this position at the end of such a difficult year and are able to return money to the towns and taxpayers who support our school and students,” Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders said in a press release announcing the School Board’s intention.

Rizzo Saunders also pointed out the fact that in future years, most of the savings from this past year won’t happen again.

She said that, “to be clear, much of this savings came from what was not done in support of students,” such as regular programming that did not occur and usually necessary items that weren’t bought.


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