Southeastern Greene receives good audit report
MAPLETOWN – Southeastern Greene School District is in good financial shape both for the short and long terms, according to an audit presented to the school board Monday.
Auditor Charles Rupert cited the district’s stable unassigned fund balance during the last few years as an indicator of the district’s solid financial position.
The district ended the year June 30, 2012, with a $2.2 million unassigned fund balance savings. The fund balance has remained “very stable” during the last eight years, Rupert said, which shows “good fiscal planning and management” on the part of the board and administration.
The fund balance is about 22 percent of the district’s annual expenditures, which is good, Rupert said. The smaller the district, the larger the fund balance should be, he said.
Under an accrual method of accounting, which looks long term, the district’s finances also appear “pretty solid,” he said.
Rupert noted the district now has more than $1.1 million set aside for post-retirement health insurance benefits promised by contract to retirees.
Government accounting standards implemented several years ago asked districts to set aside money to pay for retiree health insurance benefits. Many districts don’t set aside money to fund these long-term obligations but simply pay the costs of the benefits on a year-to-year basis.
Southeastern Greene is to have a new actuarial study completed this year to update the costs of its post-retirement obligations. Rupert suggested the district eventually begin budgeting money for these obligations each year.
Rupert also noted the district spends about $9.8 million to educate students. Of that, about $2.8 million comes from federal programs and $4.7 million from state reimbursements.
This leaves about $2.2 million to be funded locally. Viewed another way, for every dollar the district spends, 22 cents is generated locally, Rupert said. Many districts have a much higher local share, he said.
In other business, the board approved a resolution agreeing not to increase taxes this year by more than what is permitted by the state index established under the Taxpayers Relief Act.
The maximum the district is permitted to raise property taxes without exceeding the index is 2.5 percent. This equates to about a half of a mill, business manager Pat Sweeney said.
If the board intended to increase taxes in excess of that amount, it would have to prepare an early budget and obtain approval from the state, the local court or voters, through a referendum question on the primary ballot.
Board President Leonard Novak suggested the board review participation in the district’s various athletic programs. Some programs, such as football, wrestling and volleyball, have a large number of participants while others are not attracting students.
He suggested the district do something to recruit more students or consider participating in co-operative programs with other districts, which would still give students interested in a particular sport the opportunity to play.
The board voted down a motion to allow the Greene County Tax Claim Bureau to sell a tax delinquent property in Bobtown for $50 to the Greene County Redevelopment Authority. Sweeney explained the authority wants to rehabilitate the house and possibly lease or sell it, then use the proceeds to complete additional homes.
In a discussion on the 2013-14 school schedule, middle-senior high Principal Jason Pappas explained that the school would go to “block” scheduling next year. This would involved decreasing the number of instructional periods a day from eight to four. Class time would be extended to an hour and half, and a student taking eight classes would have each class every other day.
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