An investigation done by new Ferebee found that, for years, IPS "intentionally overstated expenses." In a meeting with reporters prior to the meeting, Ferebee called the budget process "flawed" and lacking "transparency."
The annual budget, released to board members and the public, reported expected revenue and expenses. Apparently, administrators did not share the actual year end revenue, expenses and balances.
Here is a look at the 2013 General Fund numbers supplied by IPS:
Projected Revenue $244 million Actual Revenue $246 million
Projected Expenses $274 million Actual Expenses $238 million
Projected Deficit -$30 million Actual Balance $8.4 million
How did IPS not spend as much money as expected?
Ferebee says academic programs, such as the expansion of pre-Kindergarten, were not implemented or weren't as big or as expensive as planned.
Even with the surplus, IPS isn't swimming in cash. That $8.4 million balance amounts to less than 3.5% of the school system's General Fund Revenue. Those dollars pay for teachers, academic programs and other classroom costs.
Ferebee says it is too early to project the state of the 2014 school budget, which began January 1.
"We still need to be efficient and effective. We still need to be lean. We will continue to right size," he insisted.
"We do not have extra money. Rather, thanks to our superintendent's investigation, we have found that we are not cash poor," Commissioner Michael Brown warned.
So the district will follow through with planned administrator cuts at IPS headquarters, which has been one of Ferebee's top priorities.