Wilton Public Schools collect $164K in participation fees

According to Wilton Public Schools Financial Director Ken Post, approximately 93% of the budgeted 2013-14 participation fees have been collected.

“In total, we’ve collected $164,370 of the $176,500 we budgeted,” Mr. Post told the Board of Education at its June 12 meeting.

As of May 31, said Mr. Post, Cider Mill collected $11,429, more than the $8,500 budgeted participation fees, Middlebrook collected $7,976 of the $8,000 budgeted, and Wilton High School collected $144,965 of the $160,000 budgeted.

Cider Mill and Middlebrook students may participate in all clubs and activities for an annual participation fee of $25. Wilton High School students pay a $50 club and activity fee, as well as a $100 fee per sport.

“The shortfall at the high school was primarily the club and activity fee,” Mr. Post told the board.

“We’re currently working to determine if the problem was that we didn’t collect from everyone who participated or if we overestimated the numbers of students who would participate.”

Mr. Post said he received a total of 15 participation fee waiver requests, “covering 20 students and 27 sports or activities.”

While participation fees were waived for the 50 to 60 students on free or reduced lunch, said Mr. Post, he is unsure how many of them actually participated.

“The school administrators and their supportive staffs, as well as Maryann Salvato, my administrative assistant, and Joy Filler, the district’s administrative systems analyst, worked very hard to plan and implement this program,” Mr. Post told the board.

“This is especially true in the high school, where the volume is much higher then the other schools. Joy, Maryann and I have already met with the high school team to discuss ways to improve the process for next year.”

Financial report

Mr. Post also presented the latest financial report to the board, in which he projected an operating deficit of $505,392.

“At this time, it appears that the excess cost grant, health benefits and savings from the spending freeze will offset our projected deficit and create a small surplus,” said Mr. Post.

“I plan to review our financial status again early next week and hope to be able to relax the spending freeze before we close out the fiscal year.”

Mr. Post said the special education deficit is $1,650,914 and that “contracted services continue to be the reason for this deficit.”

“These overages are partially offset by savings in salaries and health benefits,” he said.

According to Mr. Post, the final excess cost grant is $1,350,376 and the town has received $1,016,410.

“This is 74.8% of our claim, which is around the same percentage we’ve received in the last three or four years,” he said.

Health benefit claims have been trending lower than budget, said Mr. Post.

“For the 11 months ending May 31, health benefits are under budget by a little over $1.6 million,” he said.

“Since we’ve already collected the full year of employee contributions, I expect the surplus ... to be smaller at the end of June.”