High school spring sports were canceled. What happens to the unspent money?

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 11:45am

    The cancellation of the public high school spring sports season has resulted in thousands of dollars budgeted for baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis and outdoor track now sitting unexpended, in district accounts.

    With the funds unable to go towards their intended purposes, such as paying referees and buses for road games, what exactly happens to that money? 

    To better understand, the Penobscot Bay Pilot reached out to the financial managers at four school districts:

    RSU 13 (Oceanside Area High School);
    RSU 40 (Medomak Valley High school;
    Five Town CSD (Camden Hills Regional High School); and
    RSU 71 (Belfast Area High School).

    These are the high schools that offer the most sports programs in the Midcoast.

    RSU 13 and 71, as well as Five Town CSD, noted that unexpended funds are automatically transferred at the end of each fiscal year, in June, to their district’s fund balance. 

    “The Fund Balance is made up of unexpended funds and unexpected revenues,” explained Five Town Budget Manager Karla Miller. “The Fund Balance can be used in future school budgets to help decrease the amount of money required from the taxpayers.” 

    Fund balances are also used to reduce and mitigate the effects of property tax increases, said RSU 13 Business Manager Peter Orne. 

    In fact, Five Town Superintendent Maria Libby said that all the money from unexpended spring funds, including outside the sports categories, has allowed the budget impact to taxpayers in her district to decrease by 1.53 percent.

    “The money saved from all spring unexpended funds, from sports to field trips, will be used to help offset the impact of next year's budget on taxpayers,” she said. “It has allowed our budget impact to taxpayers to be negative.”

    The school districts also saved money on other athletic expenses, such as transportation and paying referees. 

    The Oceanside athletic department, which serves middle and high school students in RSU 13, is poised to save, according to Orne, approximately $50,000 of its $465,000 with the cancellation of the spring sports season. 

    Funds earmarked for use during the now canceled spring sports season at Camden Hills mostly went unexpended, though some money had been spent long before the cancellations as part of an annual task to replace uniforms on a rotational basis and purchase some necessary supplies. 

    Belfast’s athletic department, meanwhile, will be transferring slightly more than $40,000 from the athletic budget to the district’s general fund this summer due to the cancellations, according to RSU 71 Director of Finance Chandra Hodgdon. 

    Due to the cancellation of spring sports, there is $67,230 originally budgeted for spring athletics including expenses such for transportation and umpires now unexpended at Medomak Valley, according to RSU 40 business manager Karen Pike. 

    Reach George Harvey and the sports department at: sports@penbaypilot.com