Fund Balance Shrinks

The school board received the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Always of great interest?  The fund balance.  This is the amount of money left in the general fund of the school system.

The greatest source of revenue for the general fund is the Wake County Board of Commissioners’ budget appropriation.  So then, it makes sense that there has always been back and forth between the county commissioners and school board members about how much money remains at the end of a year, and how much money is requested at the start of the next.

There are three numbers that always get attention.  The unrestricted fund balance and the assigned/restricted/non-spendable fund balance, both of which add up to the total fund balance.

For the end of the 2015 fiscal year, the total fund balance was $68,337,612.  The assigned/restricted/non-spendable balance was $53,442,859.  That leaves $14,894,753 as the unrestricted fund balance.

The assigned/restricted/non-spendable balance includes items such as inventory, prepaid expenses, insurance, and flexible benefit plan monies.  They are committed funds, or represent non-spendable assets like inventory.

Only the unassigned fund balance is available for spending.

For a quick reference, the daily spend rate for the Wake County Public School System is roughly $5 million.  Finance Officer Mark Winters explained that roughly three days operating expenses are on hand.

The unassigned fund balance of $14,894,753 is the second lowest balance recorded in ten years.  Only the 2009 unassigned fund balance was lower, at $12,125,691.  (These numbers are available on pages 15, 84, and 85 of the CAFR.)

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