NAMPA, Idaho — Officials at a southwest Idaho school district say they have eliminated a $5.8 million deficit caused by financial mismanagement.
Nampa School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday reported the general fund at the end of the 2013-2014 school year reached $1.7 million, instead of the expected $500,000.
"A million dollars in a $108 million budget is not much... (But) I'm very happy people were that frugal," said Superintendent David Peterson, noting that the district still isn't as financially healthy as it needs to be.
Trustee Daren Coon told the Idaho Press-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1u4O4cd) that the savings occurred because the district spent only what was necessary.
The school district first revealed in 2012 that a series of financial miscues had led to serious budget problems, when administrators discovered that almost $3 million in one-time funding had been counted twice in the budget, resulting in about $1 million in overspending. The next year the problems were compounded when a financial analyst discovered that $1.2 million went to general operations instead of repayment of bonds.
The district now plans to put $500,000 toward rebuilding the district's financial reserves. The rest of the money will be spent on substitutes, school operation costs, computer lab upgrades, security upgrades and student activity transportation.
As part of the financial repair efforts, the district had the budget audited by an outside expert. That audit found no weaknesses in the district's financial system or internal controls.
Board chairman Bob Otten said the past two years have been difficult as the school dramatically cut its budget to make up for the shortfall. The district closed one elementary school and stopped providing busing to another school and saved money on staff furloughs and other transportation cuts.
"There's more work to do, but we should celebrate the significant progress we've made thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of many and the strong support of our community," Otten wrote in a prepared statement.
Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune, http://www.idahopress.com