Clearfield Area School District finished the 2019-20 school year with a $895,574 surplus, reported Business Administrator Sam Money at Monday’s school board meeting.

The district had initially projected a deficit of $3,195,174.

“The positive results can be primarily attributed to increases in local tax revenues, as well as increases in state and federal revenues over projected amounts coupled with considerable savings in major expense categories such as professional services, tuition, general supplies and budgetary reserve over amounts originally budgeted,” Maney said.

The surplus pushed the district’s fund balance to $14,962,906 as of June 30, which is the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year. The fund balance is the district’s “savings account.”

This puts the fund balance 19 percent of the district’s total budget. The state threshold is eight percent; Maney said the state won’t punish the school district for exceeding the eight percent threshold, but it would not be allowed to raise taxes if it exceeds the threshold.

Maney said the district was also aided with one time events such as the sale of real estate, and the shutdown of school last spring lowered the cost of supplies and professional services.

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The shutdown did hurt the district financially in some ways. For example, the district provides a free breakfast and lunch to every student and the district is reimbursed by federal government through the National School Lunch Program for every meal it serves.

He said the district was on pace for a strong year in the cafeteria, but the shutdown cut lunch participation by 67-75 percent.

Maney said the district was able to recover some of the funding by distributing meals through the Summer Meal Program, but it wasn’t enough to offset the losses from the National School Lunch Program.

When school was shut down in March, the district distributed free lunches at several locations in the district through the Summer Meal Program. It ended the program when schools reopened for the 2020-21 school year.

For the first time in years, the school district transferred money — $180,000 — from the General Fund to the cafeteria.

Maney said most school districts transfer funds to its cafeteria fund every year and praised Food Service Director Jeff Kavelak and the cafeteria for their work.

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