N.J.-S.P. Places Money in Rainy Day Fund for First Time

NJ-SP School Board 2015-2016The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation is hoping a change in how leftover money is budgeted will help keep the corporation running until significant spending cuts take effect. The corporation has decided to make money available for use in the corporation’s Rainy Day Fund.

During Tuesday’s school board meeting, Interim Superintendent Bob Boyd explained how the fund works. “When you end the budget year, if you have dollars left over, those dollars can stay in that fund from which they are originated, or you can go to an all-funds balance – they call it a Rainy Day Fund,” he said. “The General Assembly allows us by statute to pool all of those dollars into an all-funds balance called a Rainy Day Fund that can then be used through appropriation for a rainy day activity, an emergency of some kind.” He says right now, the corporation’s emergency is cash flow, since it needs to have money available to meet payroll on an ongoing basis.

N.J.-S.P. Business Manager Guy Richie says while the corporation has never made use of its Rainy Day Fund, the concept isn’t exactly new, “We established a Rainy Day Fund, I think maybe 13, 14 years ago, but we never did want to actually put money into it. We ran this place without having to dip into other funds. [That’s] what you’re really doing here. But obviously we’ve gotten to the point we need some help for the General Fund.”

To provide that help, the school board unanimously approved a transfer of just under $100,000 from the Capital Projects fund and nearly half a million dollars from the Transportation Fund into the Rainy Day Fund. Richie says that because the corporation has an appointed school board, the transfer will go before the Starke County Council on March 21, who will decide whether to approve it as an additional appropriation. If it’s approved, the corporation will then be able to start spending that money.

The revitalization of the Rainy Day Fund came during the same meeting that the school board approved a framework for the “right sizing” of the corporation. Interim Superintendent Bob Boyd says the corporation won’t see the full benefits of the new framework until 2017, and the cash reserves in its operating budget are currently running out.

Boyd pointed out that the corporation’s General Fund does not get any income from property taxes, and a referendum that would have changed that was rejected last fall by voters in the district.