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Revenue, IT recommendations discussed at Indian River meeting

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PHILADELPHIA — Indian River Central won’t have to worry much about money this year. The district is expecting a $5.8 million surplus due to overprojected enrollment.

Business Manager James R. Koch presented a review of this year’s budget, revenue projections and information technology recommendations for the 2013-14 budget at the district Board of Education meeting on Thursday.

As of December, about 36 percent of the current year’s $75.7 million budget had been spent, which Mr. Koch said is pretty typical.

“Over the past decade, it has remained fairly consistent, even in times of budgetary reductions,” he said.

He projected the district will spend $69.9 million of this year’s budget by the end of June, so any money left over would be available in the fund balance. The district is down 100 students this year and did not have to hire as many teachers as it anticipated year ago.

“The fund balance fluctuates daily,” he said. “We’re looking at something well within reason for the tax levy.”

A tax levy recommendation will be presented at the next meeting, on Feb. 21.

Although the district has a lot of money to spend to remain under federal “Heavily Impacted Aid” status, Mr. Koch expressed concern about the federal budget cuts known as sequestration if a deal is not made in Congress.

“We’re essentially budgeting for a sequester,” he said. “If someone doesn’t do something about it, everyone’s going to face a 9 percent cut across the board.”

A sequester would affect both Impact Aid and Title grants next year, he said.

The Information Technology Department suggested the building computers, some of which are five years old, can be replaced later. However, Mr. Koch said, 186 five-year-old administrative computers could be replaced for a total of $137,909.

Other line items include 17 Dell laptops for nearly $11,000 and nearly $170,000 for a SMART board and document cameras.

The district also is looking into purchasing an advanced camera system for buses so principals can look at footage in a more timely manner. The cost would be about $2,700.

“Principals will be able to access these recordings from their home computer,” Mr. Koch said.

All buildings will move into a wireless environment in the next few years, and the district is looking into how teachers and students can bring their own laptops, tablets and smartphones on the district’s wireless system without it bringing down the system because of a virus.

“We don’t know what someone is carrying on their phones, because the Androids are being attacked,” Mr. Koch said. “Not so much the iPhones, but the Androids are.”

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