Sumner County Schools director answers to criticism - WKRN News 2

Sumner County Schools director answers to criticism

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

The debate over Sumner County's delay in opening schools continued when county commissioner Jim Vaughn explained that the school board's final budget showed it had more money than commissioners knew about.

Vaughn told Nashville's News 2 that it was discovered that $3.2 million of rollover money was now on the revenue.

The rollover funds were brought over from the previous budget year to the next.

Schools Director Del Phillips spoke exclusively with Nashville's News 2 on Thursday to share his reaction to Vaughn's criticism.

"The rollover funds always are part of the budget process once you get closer in June or July," said Phillips.

"You're trying to pay bills for the previous year, even into August, and all the things that are encumbered against last year are paid, then through the four or five months, at each step it becomes clear how much money you will have to budget the upcoming year."

In Sumner County's case, $1.1 million in the 2012 budget was set aside to pay for a lawsuit it lost with the teacher's union two years ago. Phillips said they previously thought it must be paid out of last year's budget but recently learned it had to be paid by June 30th, 2013.

"If that ruling would have been to pay that out in the previous fiscal year, then one million would not even be up for discussion, because it would have been expensed and paid" Phillips said.

Another $1.05 million from school daycare revenue was allocated during the budget process.
The rest, Phillips said, came from a conservative estimate when the school board looked for what it might need to fund the 2012 budget.

"The remainder of the portion, that I was saying in the scope of our entire budget, if you get that close, even with your household budget, that's really good."

Nashville's News 2 asked Phillips if schools could have opened on time knowing rollover funds would add up to $3.2 million.

Phillips explained. "The school closing was absolutely the best thing to do, and I'm going to tell you why."

"When we went into making a decision to close schools we were $7.6 million out of balance, there was no indication that we were going to get additional revenue. Period."

Phillips said last year's warmer winter helped the school board cut down on energy costs.

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