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Letter: Bottom Line: It’s Good News

To the Editor:

I would like to respond to the article in the July 21 Sunday Valley News regarding the Lebanon School District’s surplus fund (“Surplus for Leb Schools”). Instead of celebrating the unexpected windfall — the result of a one-time insurance premium break, other unexpected money and an excellent business administrator who is constantly on the lookout for value for the district — the article chose to focus on the extra money as perhaps reflecting inefficient handling and budgeting by either the administration or the School Board.

I would argue the opposite. Many of the factors that contributed to the surplus were out of our control, such as increased tuition revenue, unfilled positions and savings on dental insurance. All of the above, along with several other savings in the district, added up to $1,715,810 out of the $2.2 million total surplus. If you take the amount of money that will be returned to taxpayers, $1.94 million, and subtract the total amount of surplus resulting from factors that couldn’t have been predicted, it would indicate that the budget was actually much tighter than alluded to in the article

So I say “hurrah” for the taxpayers of Lebanon. Rather than telling the residents that we were not able to stay within our budget, I would say that we are all winners — the students, the school district, and the taxpayers who have in the past supported the school district by approving the budget, confident that the board and administration would be able to balance the budget and provide excellent education to all students in our district.

Kathleen Berger

Member, Lebanon School Board

Related

Surplus For Leb Schools: $1.94 Million to Go Back to Taxpayers

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lebanon — A litany of unexpected savings has resulted in a school budget surplus of more than $2.2 million, most of which will be funneled back to taxpayers. Lebanon School District Business Administrator Jim Fenn said that the final return to the voters — about $1.94 million — will be paid in adjustments to the tax rate in the fall. …