Dist. 26 Reports Surplus at Year's End Extra Funds Came from Changes to Special Education

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Byline: Matt Arado Daily Herald Staff Writer

River Trails Elementary District 26 ended the 2004-05 fiscal year with a surplus of about $586,000, audited figures show.

Officials say the surplus is the result of lower-than-expected expenses in special education, delayed equipment purchases and simple belt-tightening. The 2004-05 fiscal year ended on June 30.

The surplus is good news for District 26, but officials said it does not mean that the district's struggle with rising costs and budget deficits is over.

"Our long-term financial picture is not necessarily a healthy one," Superintendent Terry Barker said. "We've reduced student services, delayed equipment needs and delayed facilities needs. We can't keep doing that forever."

Reduced special education costs contributed to last year's surplus, as the district decided to educate many students in-house, rather than sending them to off-site facilities, Business Services Director Mary Brown said.

The district also delayed all but the most necessary equipment purchases, she said. …