Education Briefs: Reserve Vote Presentation Planned; Budget Transfers Approved

The Bridgehampton School. Michael Heller photo

Presentation on Bridgehampton Capital Reserve Vote Planned

During the October 18 Bridgehampton School Board meeting, school administrators will offer a presentation to break down the community vote planned for the following week in which voters will be asked to weigh in on using reserve monies for capital projects.

The October 24 vote is to allow the district to use the $1.275 million currently tucked away in its “Geothermal System and Five Year Plan Reserve Fund,” the creation of which was approved by voters in May. Among the details to be presented is the use of this fund will not levy any new taxes on homeowners, according to school officials.

A newsletter has been mailed to residents detailing the October 24 vote, and Wednesday’s meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the school gymnasium.

School Board Approves Reserve Fund Transfers

The Bridgehampton School Board approved $970,794 in transfers from its remaining 2016-17 budget funds to its reserve funds during its September 20 meeting.

That total included $174,536 to the Geothermal System and Five-Year Plan Reserve. It also included $350,000 to the Employee Benefit and Accrued Liability Reserve, which the district can use to pay teachers for unused sick days they have amassed over their years when they retire. Another budget transfer was $446,258 to the Employee Retirement Contribution Reserve, from which the district can draw money to pay its state-mandated pension fund payments.

“The transfers to the reserves were recommended by our auditor,” Robert Hauser, assistant superintendent for finance and facilities, said in an email. “The auditor presented and discussed the transfers with the audit committee prior to the board vote.”

The district now has $809,586 in its Employee Retirement Contribution Reserve and $793,899 in its Employee Benefit and Accrued Liability Reserve. A community vote is planned for October 24 to allow Bridgehampton to spend the $1.275 million in the Geothermal System and Five-Year Plan Reserve.

School districts can choose to use leftover budget monies in a variety of ways, including offsetting their tax levies to reduce the tax impact to local homeowners or adding to reserve accounts to plan for future expenses. Auditors frequently recommend school districts keep certain amounts of money on hand in reserve funds.

“The purpose of each reserve account transfer was to adequately fund each reserve,” Mr. Hauser said.