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Portsmouth school board OKs COVID-19 special revenue fund

Allows district to redirect part of surplus to coronavirus-related unanticipated costs


PORTSMOUTH — The School Committee voted unanimouslyTuesday night to set up a COVID-19 special revenue fund, making a one-time exception to their spending policy regarding surpluses. 

That decision, Superintendent Tom Kenworthy said, will allow the district to redirect any surplus exceeding 1.5 percent of the prior year’s operating budget from going toward capital projects, putting it instead into this special revenue fund. 

“This is a step that most school districts and municipalities are trying to take right now with a lot of the uncertainty around COVID-19 and the economy,” he said. 

After reading that school districts could be seeing a 5 percent increase in expenses next year, Chairwoman Emily Copeland said setting up the fund was “a really smart idea.” The board could put that surplus toward anything from professional development for remote learning, technical support or additional special education costs, Ms. Copeland said.

“I think this is a really prudent move,” she said. 

The rest of the committee agreed, voting 7-0 to make the one-time exception and set up the fund. 

Later in the meeting, finance director Chris DiIuro said the district was still on track to end the academic year with a one-time surplus of roughly $800,000 — some of which he said will go toward “Chromebooks and various other things.”

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