The Department of Financial Affairs for the Cheltenham School District is responsible for the administration, management and compliance of District financial services. These responsibilities include the preparation, presentation, monitoring and reporting of the annual District budget; preparation of annual financial statements; payroll administration; benefit administration; accounts receivable and payable; purchasing and receiving; management of debt service and investments and monitoring of capital assets; and financial oversight of federal and state programs. The Department also provides oversight of the Food Services and Transportation Department.
With co-chair Joel Fishbein presiding, the Financial Affairs Committee met Tuesday, May 5 in a Zoom seminar room, which allowed the public to view the meeting and submit questions in real-time. Business manager Cara Michaels presented three agenda items: 2020-21 food service management company (FSMC) renewal; 2019-20 budget status; and 2020-21 proposed final budget.
Michaels provided an update on the food service bid process, which COVID-19 closures impacted. She relayed the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) approved CSD for a COVID-19 emergency waiver, which allows for a one-year extension of the current food service management contract with Chartwells. The renewal package was approved by PDE based upon the budget and $120,000 guarantee presented in the presentation. The approval of the renewal documents is slated for the May 12, 2020, legislative meeting.
Michaels provided an update on the 2019-20 budget, which illustrated CSD has collected or realized 85.44 percent of its revenues and has expended 76.34 percent of its expenditures. She reported an update on the savings ($1,802,000) and unexpected costs ($214,150) created by the COVID-19 closure. Through the administration’s ongoing efforts, the expected use of fund balance was reduced from $2,733,728 to $991,200.
To close the meeting, Michaels presented an extensive overview of the 2020-21 proposed final budget, which will be adopted at the May 12, 2020, legislative meeting. The proposed final budget includes a tax increase to the Act 1 Index or 2.6 percent, which provides an additional $2.2 million in revenue. The additional revenue is offset by decreases in overall local and state revenue due to the COVID-19 impact on the economy. Administration reduced the overall expenditures by over $2.4 million through myriad cost savings, including salary attritional savings, elimination of administrative positions and operational efficiencies. The COVID-19 negative impact on revenues requires CSD to utilize $3.2 million in fund balance. Michaels relayed that this amount will be addressed through 2019-20 savings.
The next Financial Affairs committee meeting is Tuesday, June 2, immediately following the Facilities committee meeting.