Peter Rowe, the interim business manager for Harvard’s schools, reported that the schools are “just about dead on budget” now, which sounded bad but actually meant “exactly on target.”
An estimate a few months ago had indicated that the schools might face a $20,000 deficit this year, partly caused by cost increases in contracts for custodial services and bus transportation, both of which came in after the budget was finalized last spring. In addition, out-of-district placement costs for special education were higher than expected, and the district lost some state funding for the kindergarten program.
However, those unexpected costs have been offset by some equally unexpected savings in salaries because of staff turnover, according to Rowe’s report. Additional savings came from a surplus in the special education transportation account.
One of the remaining unknowns is how much the schools will have to spend on snow removal this year, Rowe told the School Committee Monday night—when the cancellation for Tuesday’s coming blizzard had already been announced.