Woodford School calls special meeting

Wednesday May 29, 2013


Staff Writer

WOODFORD -- A special meeting for the Woodford School District is set for next month to consider a reserve fund appropriation that slipped off the ballot on Town Meeting Day.

The $71,000 contribution to an operation expense and capital improvement reserve was originally intended to be an article on the March ballot, and was included on the annual meeting warning, but voters didn’t have the option when they showed up to the polls.

The surplus funds come from an unexpectedly large federal impact aid payment just before the end of the last fiscal year. Designed to assist local school districts impacted by tax-exempt federal property -- in Woodford’s case, national forest land -- the approximately $200,000 payment was more than twice what the district had budgeted, allowing the school board to apply fund balance to keep spending flat in fiscal year 2014.

The upcoming special meeting to shift the remaining moneys into the reserve fund as planned is scheduled for June 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Woodford Town Hall.

Town Clerk Ron Higgins said the ballot article’s omission in March was an oversight during a period of time when he was recuperating from a heart attack earlier in the year.

By telephone Tuesday, Higgins contended with the necessity of transferring the surplus, which he said state law allowed the school district to hold onto until a future audit. Once reviewed by an audit and determined to be extra, the district could seek voter approval then to shift the funds into a reserve at a later date.

"The ballot vote was not really necessary," Higgins said. "It really doesn’t make any difference."

As described on the March meeting warning, "Article C" asks voters to contribute $71,000 of the district’s prior year fund balance to the reserve fund for the purpose of paying for unanticipated operational expenses and capital improvements as approved by the school board.

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