School officials will have an extra $5 million to put toward capital improvement projects following a decision made on Thursday night.
The Board of Education voted unanimously to allocate $5 million from surplus into a capital reserve account, which can be used to make improvements to school facilities. The money can also be coupled with state grants in order to significantly expand the total amount of work that can be purchased.
Business Administrator James Edwards said on Thursday that the district came into the unexpected money due to extra savings from a shared transportation services agreement with the township and from the district's switch from a private health insurance provider to the state's public health insurance service.
Edwards said a high number of district employees have spouses that also draw insurance from state accounts and therefore the district has saved at least $1.2 million since family members are no longer covered under the Brick employee's account. The district also saved a significant amount of money by switching prescription plan providers to Medco.
The money will totally be dedicated to capital improvements, Edwards said.
"Once it's put into the capital reserve account, it has to be used for capital improvements," he said.
Additionally, money in capital improvement accounts is immune from the potential for the state to order local school districts to turn over surplus funds, which happened last summer, Edwards said.
Board President Sharon Kight said the facilities and operations committees will begin researching which improvements should be made to school facilities immediately. Grants for which the district qualifies run out Jan. 1, 2012, so officials must determine where the money should be spent by the end of the year.