DALLAS — The Dallas School Board authorized transferring $400,000 out of contingency and into the instruction and support services funds help to cover the 2018-19 school year close-out costs and maintenance needs.

Debbie MacLean, the director of fiscal services, said the district may not have to use all — or any — of the additional money, but she asked the board to make the transfer in case costs are higher than budgeted.

The money would come from the $1.3 million general fund operating contingency. The resolution for the transfer stated that $200,000 would go to instruction services for more staffing in special education and behavioral classrooms. The other $200,000 will go to student transportation and building repairs.

The board approved the transfer at its June 24 meeting.

MacLean said the district tries to budget generously for salaries and benefits to avoid the need for such transfers.

“I’m happy to say in our budget process, we do budget folks at the mid-range for licensed (teachers) that assumes either a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree with 69 credit hours. That’s pretty high up on the range,” she said. “The classified (staff) we budget in the mid-range as well. We are pretty conservative in our budgeting process that way. We also budget for full PERS (Public Employee Retirement System), even though some people won’t be eligible for a while. It provides that cushion.”

She said part of the lack of financial clarity is the six “budget reduction days,” or furloughs, the district had this year. MacLean said there’s still a chance the budget as originally approved will pencil out.

“It’s not until you get to the very end that you realize what the savings is from the budget reduction days, because people are using their leave. What we see now at the end of the year, you see less of a leave pay out,” MacLean said. “Appropriations look pretty good. It may not be necessary for this, to have a transfer of appropriations at all, but there’s a lot of close out we are still doing.”

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