2017-09-27 / Front Page

Overdue Medicaid payments put Morgan County Schools ledgers in better standing

by Kate Evans

Morgan County Schools is in better shape financially this year with their total net position (assets minus liabilities) of $15,218,815 increasing by $638,848 from Fiscal Year 2016.

Last year their net position had declined due to decreased Medicaid reimbursements and state aid. School Treasurer Ann Bell explained net position as everything the school system owns minus what they owe.

Bell gave an overview of the Morgan County Board of Education’s annual financial statements for the year ending June 30, 2017 at the September 22 school board meeting, which was held at the Berkeley Springs High School media center due to energy renovations at the school board office.

The annual financial statement for the Morgan County Board of Education for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017 is published in today’s edition of The Morgan Messenger.

The financial statements are also sent to the West Virginia Department of Education Office of School Finance.

Factors in improvement

New School Superintendent Erich May attributed the improvement in school finances to a large Medicaid reimbursement, staff reductions, school consolidation and staff tightening their belts.

He also credited Bell’s expertise for the results and said the school system was very lucky to have her.

Bell said that a Medicaid reimbursement of $297,809 was received during the summer of 2017 for a cost settlement of 2015 and 2016 Medicaid reimbursements. The school system had only received $46,197 in Medicaid reimbursements in Fiscal Year 2016 due to a freeze on Medicaid billing.

School-based health services eligible for Medicaid reimbursement include speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, psychological services, transportation services, personal care assistance and some nursing care. Many of the services are for students with special needs and individualized educational plans (IEPs).

Revenue

Total revenues for Fiscal Year 2017 were $26,688,737, with 45% of their revenue coming from state aid and 37% from property taxes, she said. Other school revenue includes unrestricted grants and contributions, operating grants and contributions and fees for services.

Unrestricted state aid was the largest source of revenue at $12,023,507. Property taxes were the next largest source of income at $9,806,619. Bell said general revenue from property taxes increased by around $114,062 due to increased collection of regular levy taxes.

Expenses

Total Fiscal Year 2017 expenditures were $26,049,890. More than $13.28 million or 51% of expenses was for instruction, Bell said. Some $10.84 million or 42% was spent on supporting services, which includes students, instructional staff, general and school administration, facilities operation and maintenance, central services, transportation and other support services. Around $1.9 million or seven percent went toward food services.

Some $10,374 spent in expenses for community services was leftover from the previous special levy and went towards Morgan County Extension Office expenditures and soccer field complex land remediation. Bell and school board member John Rowland noted that the Extension Office has been very frugal and has done a great job of extending their revenue.

Assets

The value of Morgan County Schools total capital assets decreased by approximately $597,044 (four percent) to $14,218,273, which included current year depreciation. The school system owns capital assets including land, buildings and improvements, vehicles, furniture and equipment.

Child nutrition

Bell said that the child nutrition program has been very successful and was spending less from the general fund every year. Schools are feeding more kids through the free student meal program. Federal meal reimbursements had gone up due to increased participation and their sponsor’s contribution had decreased from 55% in Fiscal Year 2013 to 38% in Fiscal Year 2017. School costs included personnel, produce and equipment repairs.

Carryover

The $608,020 unreserved fund balance or carryover for Fiscal Year 2017 increased from last year’s $420,402 unreserved fund balance. The amount includes the other postemployment benefits (OPEB) liability for retiree health benefits which school systems are required to carry on their books. The OPEB liability is what the state pays toward past and future retirees and is just a paper entry-no money changes hands.

Bell noted that the actual spendable carryover with that liability removed is $931,286, which is 3.8% of their total budgeted revenue. The state recommends a carryover of three percent to five percent.

The special revenue fund balance carryover is $1,069,214, Bell said. The special revenue fund includes funding for Title 1, Title 2, child nutrition and special education, all grants including the after-school grant and other federal funding.

Long-term debt

The final payment of $56,740 for the QZAB loan from 2004 for Widmyer Elementary major renovations will be paid in Fiscal Year 2018, Bell said. The final payment of $10,994 for a lease/purchase agreement for the Berkeley Springs High School heating, ventilation and air conditioning system will also be paid in 2018.

Fiscal year 2018 brings the first payment of $124,077 for the CMTA Energy Performance lease/purchase agreement and the first payment of the 2018 QZAB loan for the Berkeley Springs High School Buildings C and D renovations.

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