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Schools End Fiscal Year with $130,000 Surplus

School officials said the savings came through contract negotiations, a mild winter and more retirees than expected.

When this year's audit of the Cranston School District is completed, it should show a $130,000 surplus, school officials announced today.

School Committee Chairwoman Andrea Iannazzi and Vice Chairman Frank S. Lombardi announced the surplus in a joint statement this morning and said the surplus will be used to help pay down the district's debt to the city.

"We are proud that we were fiscally conservative this year, we held the line on expenses and ended the year with a surplus. We are going to use this surplus toward the debt. It is one step toward providing a sound financial future for our students and our taxpayers.” Lombardi said.

Much of the savings came from contract negotiations with teachers, custodians and bus drivers, who agreed to concessions. The district was also spared by the mild winter, which meant less snow removal expense as well as few make-up days.

Adding to the surplus was an increase in revenue from the outsourcing of the school lunch program and a streamlined medicaid billing process — two things that were recommended by the forensic audit of school finances a couple of years ago.

The surplus will be used to pay down the city's outstanding debt to the city. The city expects the district to pay $1.57 million in next years budget for deficit reduction. As of March of this year, the district still owed the city $8.9 million.

“We anticipate that the debt will be completely paid within 3 years now that the state is contributing more revenue under the fair funding formula. We are committed to providing the best programs possible to our students in an efficient and responsible manner," Iannazzi said.

RIresident August 14, 2012 at 11:52 AM
It's just hilarious how this current school committee got us into this mess and now they are looking for kudos for doing anything right at all. They gotta go!
Boston August 14, 2012 at 12:27 PM
actually only a few members of this current committee were on the school committee when the committee sued the city.
RIresident August 14, 2012 at 12:49 PM
That may be true, but most of them were there when they eliminated the programs EPIC, sports, and instruments. Why couldn't they find the money elsewhere? Why take away from the students? That is unbelievable.
Boston August 14, 2012 at 09:46 PM
they did, they actually saved music and epic for a few years before they had to cut it. Look at the time this happened, the state cut funding to school districts due to the General Assembly spending for special interests...all in all Cranston lost $27 million in 3 years to schools and city funding...oh and a lot of that was mid year... so let's look at whole picture before we comment. And by the way, I am not a committee member, just an informed Cranston parent.
Steven r August 15, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Now they can pay off most of that stupid prayer banner lawsuit.
John E. Lanni, Jr. August 15, 2012 at 01:03 PM
The Cranston School Department has finally gotten their house in order. Credit goes to where credit is due. Congratulations.
TruthHonorValor August 15, 2012 at 04:41 PM
It's just hilarious how this post reflects the extreme, blatent ignorance of some people. The majority of the current school committee were not even on the school committe when the mess was made, and stepped into a financial mess. They should get kudos for fixing the errors they inherited from their predecessors. So that's right, RIresident. Keep flying your banner of ignorance high and proud for everyone to see. Sure, advocate to vote out the people who are fixing the problems they inherited from previous school committees! Yea, brother, smite the present school committee for the sins of fixing the problem. Blame the evil committee people for the past! They have sinned against the citizens of Cranston by fixing the problems they inherited! Such goodness can only be rewarded by extreme punishment! Vote out the effective people. Is this what you advocate?
TruthHonorValor August 15, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Again, RIresident, your ignorance is like a tidal wave of stupidity washing away the truth. The Mayor forced the School Committee to get rid of everything that wasn't included in the basic education defined by the RI Dept. of Ed. If you want to place blame, blame Fung. He was the one who told the School Committe to get rid of all of the programs like EPIC, sports and instruments.
Stephanie Giangrande Culhane August 16, 2012 at 02:38 AM
We have put the surplus toward something good, and at this point it is paying down the deficit so we can continue our plan for restoration of programs and school improvement. In response to the comments made by a blogger on the Patch site, Janice Ruggieri, Paula MacFarland, Steven Bloom and I were not involved in the creation of the debt that we are now paying back. We walked into that when we were elected. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Andrea Iannazzi and former school committee member, now councilman Steve Stycos voted against the budget that resulted in the Caruolo Action. And to the same blogger’s point about the cuts, let’s not forget when our mayor came before a February meeting of the school committee and told us we needed to cut out the "nice to haves" and "luxuries". Yes folks, it was the mayor who called them that, not the committee. We made the cuts that HE demanded. We got to the BEP that he constantly asked for. And we are committed to abiding by the Consent Order and paying back the debt owed. According to the Court order, which the mayor has refused to amend on several occasions, we cannot restore programs until the entire debt is paid. Once the debt is paid in full, we can begin restoring programs. Thanks to the informed parent who responded back!
RIresident August 20, 2012 at 02:39 PM
All we do is pay lawyers!
Jay Rosenfield August 21, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Was the School Committee vote to give the unaudited budget surplus of $131,467 over to the city a good one? The resolution sponsored by Mr. Lombardi, Ms. Iannazzi and Mrs. Ruggieri had the best intentions. However, the audit will not be complete until November. What is their rush? We don't pay interest on the debt and the plan is to take two more years to pay it off. What happens if the outside auditors find that we only have a $50,000 surplus, or even a deficit? We COULD be a winner. We SHOULD have waited until November when we will have all the information.
CHSE Parent August 22, 2012 at 02:54 PM
This " surplus " was achieved on the backs of the lowest paid school district employees.The student lunch program workers, school janitors and busdrivers and monitors who agreed to wage and benefit concessions . The value of these concessions,that had been previously bargained by past and present committee members , are the primary source of this " surplus ".Not more efficent budgetary practices or innovated cost saving policies or programs. "Give credit where credit is due", I agree .Thank the school district employees.Not the school committee members , the administrations puppets , who will reallocate that surplus to a already over paid administrator.
Boston August 22, 2012 at 07:05 PM
parent? sounds like a union member to me? Sorry, you forgot to mention that administration cut a lot of jobs also. Yes would like to see more cuts there but I truly think that everyone took a hit on this one.... talk about on backs of who took the hits, let's talk about the kids who lost programs that today's high schoolers had when they were in elementary school. as for my kids, they are are the ones who truly were the backs that these achievements were made... like I said everyone took a hit, So let's not point fingers. It solves nothing!
kbbooks October 11, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Boston "everyone took a hit on this one" ah, and just who is everyone? Can you give me specific examples of this "everyone" you took about? did the former Superintendent take a pay cut? No. He got a small raise. Hmmm. School administrators take a hit. Not last time I checked the budget. So again, you want to tell me who took a hit. I will agree with you that the kids lost out. But everyone did not take a hit.
Joe The Plumber October 11, 2012 at 04:14 AM
You must be joking.... The school Dept. owes the city almost $9 million and you think a $130k surplus is getting a house in order?!?!. What about the other $8.8 million. Lanni, it is your kind of thinking that got our city into the mess we are in.
Joe The Plumber October 11, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Just stop the blabbering and pay back the $9 million.
Joe The Plumber October 11, 2012 at 05:04 AM
The ones who really took the hit are the taxpayers in this city. That's who really took the hit.
Don Botts October 16, 2012 at 06:54 PM
So much for being fiscally conservative. The $130K "surplus" is actually a $270K deficit.

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