NEWPORT – There appears to be some confusion among SAD 48 residents about a recent school payment made two weeks early by the town of Newport.
Depending on who is talking, the payment was either a way to bail SAD 48 out of a negative cash flow or it was just a nice gesture.
At a recent Newport selectmen’s meeting, it was announced that two SAD 48 payments had been made in one month. Some residents believed that was due to a budget shortfall within the district and following the meeting expressed their concern.
Town Manager James Ricker explained this week that the payments were sent in as usual, but just a bit early.
“SAD 48 is still waiting for some $660,000 in funding,” Ricker said. “Four years ago, the town of Newport had some income issues and the school board worked with us, letting us pay a bit late. Now, we are just reciprocating.”
Ricker said the interest lost by paying the money early was “just pennies.”
SAD 48 Business Manager Kelley Carter explained Wednesday that the money owed was actually federal funding.
“We spend a lot of money beginning in September,” Carter said. “We are not going to be reimbursed until February.”
Carter said this reimbursement delay was not new and that it happens every year.
“The difference is that this year we used more of our carryover, or surplus funds, to reduce taxes,” he said.
In past years, the amount taken from the carryover fund was between $300,000 and $350,000. In 2005, $784,000 was used and this year, $700,000 was used.
“This was previously our cushion,” Carter said.
Carter said that no one should be concerned that SAD 48 will be unable to pay its bills. “We are still financially secure,” he said.