By some estimates the Duval school district spent $21 million more than it budgeted for the last fiscal year.
The School Board wants “a deeper dive” into the numbers now to learn how it happened and how it can be avoided next year. The Board asked district officials Tuesday for report on spending and outstanding bills from the fiscal year which just ended.
“We know we had $21 million in unfunded spending last year,” said Ashley Smith Juarez, board vice chairwoman. “Some of that the Board was aware of. Much of that we were not aware of.”
Some details are emerging.
There was $3.4 million in unbudgeted costs related to teachers and other employees taking early retirement, Smith Juarez said, and $4.8 million in unbudgeted transportation costs. The state typically doesn’t reimburse Duval for all transportation, but the shortfall was larger than expected, she said.
The district also received $1.4 million less in state per-pupil funding than expected, possibly because enrollment and attendance were less than expected, she said.
The state also made the district transfer $3.3 million out of its general funds to its capital funds accounts, which pay for buildings, repairs and equipment, because of a paperwork issue: the district couldn’t produce documentation to prove that certain employees had worked part time on capital projects, Smith Juarez said.
Add to that the recent announcement that Duval did not have about $12 million in “roll-over” funds expected from last year, and the district only reserved 4.51 percent of its revenues, instead of the usual 5 percent, and something doesn’t add up.