Board Banking On State Reimbursement For COVID Expenses

Board Banking On State Reimbursement For COVID Expenses

School officials hope that if the District receives $706,500 in promised state grant funding for COVID-19 expenses, it will be made “close to whole” as far as those costs are concerned. 

Schools Chief Operating Officer Vincent Masciana, in an update on school finances during the Board of Education’s in-person meeting last Thursday, said that was the amount promised to the District in late August. School officials submitted a formal application for the relief funds on Oct. 1. 

Masciana told the Board school officials are also still waiting to learn whether they can transfer unused funds to another budget line. 

While the state approved $75,000 for transportation expenses, Masciana said he is “not sure” the District will spend all the funds.

“We determined we didn’t need as many bus aides as originally thought,” Masciana said. 

The majority of the relief funds — more than $450,000 — would go toward building cleaning, health and safety, Masciana said. Another $100,000 would cover sanitation supplies and an additional $41,000 is slated for personal protective equipment. 

Masciana said other than pandemic expenses, there are “no major budget variances that I’m concerned about, which is good news.”

However, the District’s medical trust fund balance did experience what Masciana described as “a very high claim month” in September, with $1.2 million in employee health claims. 

Masiciana told the Board that the District should have enough in reserves to cover the claims, but he described the issue as a “concern.” 

“We will have to keep watching it over the next couple of months,” Masciana said, adding that as officials prepare the upcoming fiscal 2022 budget, “we will need to increase the medical funds contribution so we have a more adequate reserve moving forward.”

“We can’t seem to catch a break,” said Anthony Perugini, the Board’s chairman, following Masciana’s presentation. 

Board colleague Adam Grippo, who chairs the Finance Committee, said he wanted to commend Masciana and his team, noting prior difficulties regarding which COVID-19 related expenses the state would reimburse. 

“It looks like you and your team have solved the problem. To be able to qualify a lot of the expenses for reimbursement, that’s great news,” Grippo said. 

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