Fund juggling helps MPS find $3.2 million

They may not be breathing easy, but MPS board members and officials did breathe a small sigh of relief.

"I think we're moving in the right direction," says Montgomery Public School Superintendent Barbara Thompson.

After a school board work session a couple weeks ago, MPS officials projected a zero balance in their reserve funds at the start of the coming school year. Now they hope to have roughly three million dollars.

So...where's the money coming from?

First, the state passed a law allowing school systems to only have two months reserve funds in the Child Nutrition Program. Originally, it was three.

"That freed up about $1.5 million dollars that we were not expecting and can retain that in the general fund," says MPS Assistant Finance Superintendent, Ron Glover.

Also, the school system can now take unused federal dollars intended for other areas and put them in their general fund.

"We're just trying to utilize those funds in the best way we can that will help the general fund," adds Glover.

Those two changes should free up $2.2 million dollars.

Board members also voted to amend the 2011 budget. Once approved by the state the amendment would create an additional $1 million dollars. It's money officials are happy to see, but still not even one month's operating funds.

"$2.2 million compared to $17.5 million.  We're a long way from even getting to that," says Glover.

"We have a long way to go in terms of where we need to be," adds Thompson.

MPS officials know if more proration is declared this year, it could change these numbers significantly.  At Tuesday night's meeting board president Charlotte Meadows made reference to hearing that another 2% proration could be coming. She admits she doesn't know whether it could hit this year or next, or even at all.

MPS officials expect the state board of education to approve their budget amendment by September.

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