Tuesday, March 11, 2014

IPS' $30 Million Deficit Is Actually An $8.4 Million Surplus

It's yet further evidence that the people with whom we are entrusting our public tax dollars are either too incompetent or too dishonest to be in the public positions they hold. IPS' Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee has announced that IPS is running an $8.4 million surplus instead of a $30 million deficit as had been forecasted. After a review of the school district's budget, Dr. Ferebee learned that the prior administration of Dr. Eugene White underestimated revenues and intentionally overestimated expenses greatly while compiling the school district's budget in an effort to make the school district's financial situation appear more dire than it truly was. WTHR has more on what he discovered:
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.

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