Pottsgrove Ends Academic Year with $1.7M Surplus

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Finances of the Pottsgrove School District looked significantly better by the end of the 2019-2020 academic year than they did a year earlier, its Herbein + Company Inc. auditors conclude in a report presented Tuesday (Jan. 12, 2021) during the school board meeting. The district closed the books June 30 (2020) with a $1.7 million surplus, Business Administrator David Nester said.

Nester called it a “very strong result for the year,” primarily due to expenses the district did not incur as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that began last March. Because its school buildings were closed for a period of time and no buses were required to ferry students, the district saved money on items like transportation, substitute staffing, and other costs, according to Nester.

The audit report also states that Pottsgrove:

  • Ended the year with an 18.5-percent improvement in its overall net position. The district, due to pension and other post-employment benefits, had a 2020 overall net deficit of $6,973,515, reduced from $8,554,302 in 2019.
  • Revenues from earned income taxes and real estate transfer taxes “showed continued growth in the current year, generating optimism that the local economy is growing.”
  • Cafeterias and food services operations “produced a profit of $103,407″ for the year. They, too, benefited from the pandemic. Unanticipated government subsidy money came in, and because weekly labor costs were reduced less money went out.
  • Amounts in its fund balances grew as well, by $1,022,224, to a total of $23,564,877 for the year. A $1.5 million surplus in the general fund easily offset a $518,241 deficit in the capital fund; that additional money was spent on projects across the district.

All this good news really wasn’t news to the school board. It had been briefed on the Dec. 11 (2020) audit results later that month.

The audit demonstrated Pottsgrove “is in a very strong financial position to weather a storm,” Nester declared. Now his efforts and those of the business staff, he added, will be concentrated on crafting the coming 2021-2022 budget. Its outcome depends in part on what messages the governor’s budget address holds in the next three to four weeks, he said.

Photo by Boaz Arad via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license