Lisbon schools carrying on

LISBON – Significant budget cuts enacted by the school board over the past 18 months are helping the district forestall future budget problems.

The district spent $8.3 million in the 2012-13 school year, $428,000 less than the year before, according to figures in the district’s five-year financial forecast, which was approved at last week’s school board meeting. All districts are required to submit these forecasts to the state every May and October.

Superintendent Don Thompson told the board this reflects the steps they have taken over the past two years to save money by consolidating programs and positions, sharing services, and eliminating positions as employees retiree.

“The steps we’re taking are working,” he said.

Unfortunately, the cost-cutting measures alone were not enough to offset the loss in district operating revenue, which dropped by nearly $500,000 last year. Even though Lisbon spent about $428,000 less, expenditures still exceeded revenue by $300,000.

Lisbon avoided ending the year with a deficit by using some of the district’s large carry-over balance, which currently totals $3.2 million, to help fund operations. The balance stood at $3.8 million as recently as two years ago, before district spending began exceeding revenue.

Thompson pointed out the significant savings reduced the amount they needed to take from the carry-over to help balance the books for 2012-13, which means they will have more money to cover future deficits.

The forecast predicts that if current spending and revenue patterns continue, the balance will decrease to $1.2 million within two years and disappear in the 2017-18 school year.