OXFORD — Despite a gloomy economic national climate, SAD 17 closed out the fiscal year on June 30 with some positive news.

“It’s good news,” reported Business Manager Cathy Fanjoy as she told the SAD 17 Board of Directors Monday that the district has been able to carry forward nearly $782,939 into the new fiscal year budget.

According to Fanjoy, the district budgeted a carry-over of $392,142 for the new fiscal 2009-10 year but the actual carry-over turned out to be $782,939 — $390,797 more than anticipated. “We started the (fiscal) year in really good shape,” she said.

In early June voters from the eight towns in SAD 17 unanimously approved the SAD 17 $36.5 million budget for fiscal 2009-10 including the budgeted $392,142 carry-over.

Fanjoy said the higher carry-over figure was the result of several factors, including a less than expected cut in state subsidies and $580,187 in other revenues, primarily Maine Care reimbursements. The reimbursements from that program were supposed to have ended this fiscal year but instead will be funded this year and next.

The district budgeted to receive state subsidies that were $435,000 less than the state actually gave them, Fanjoy said.

School officials anticipating the worse in December had voted to implement a spending and hiring freeze to help offset the expected state subsidy cut at that time.

A $502,000 return in fiscal 2009 funding through the stimulus package, that provided funds to maintain some positions and programs, coupled with a decision not to reinstate all the lost positions, created more carry-over funds for fiscal 2010, said Fanjoy.

“This puts us in really good shape to deal with the cliff,” said Superintendent Mark Eastman to applause from the directors.

Eastman has warned officials and voters for months that despite a challenging budget year during the 2008-09 fiscal year, there is great concern about the future and what legislators are calling the “funding cliff,” this fiscal year and perhaps next, when state revenue is expected to decrease significantly.

The additional carry-over funding will be put toward this fiscal year’s expected decrease in state funds, Fanjoy said.

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