Oct 22, 2008 Darren Benda Uncategorized
The Jamesville-DeWitt School District recently received positive remarks while reviewing their 2007-2008 audit report. At the Oct. 6 J-D School Board meeting, Terrance McCarthy gave board members and those in attendance an in-depth look at the district’s financial situation.
McCarthy, a certified fraud examiner and certified public accountant with Green & Seifter, presented J-D’s single audit report, which is the financial, internal control and compliance review of the district, which is done annually because the district receives federal assistance.
“It has been a good year financially for the district looking at the single audit report,” McCarthy said. “The overall reserve is approximately at $2.3 million. Frankly with the economy the way it is, (the district) may need reserves to rely for things to come in the future.”
McCarthy also noted that there were no changes in accounting policies this past year and that his company provides a clean, unbiased analysis of the district.
However, McCarthy did inform the board that the district needs to keep better documentation of their cash receipts, specifically regarding extra circular spending.
“The last thing you want is to have something in the paper negatively affecting your reputations as a district, in reference to the extra classroom activities spending,” McCarthy said. “I believe extra classroom activities are important, but people doing things with money can potentially be unaccountable and mishandled.”
The single audit report noted that J-D’s expenses were about $200,000 less than last year. Additionally, J-D Business Executive William McIntyre said that J-D’s food service revenue is up approximately $72,000.
“The cost of food only went up $10,000,” McIntyre said. “We haven’t raised prices in the past two years and hopefully we won’t have to raise them in the immediate future. We like to think that we’re very efficient with our spending. So we should be in good shape and positioned well for the future with our reserves.”
Board President Thomas Taylor said that he was pleased with the work of the McCarthy and McIntyre. He called this year’s report one of the cleaner reports that he has ever seen.
The Jamesville-DeWitt School District learned that J-D Middle School Principal Jeff Craig is leaving his position to take a job with Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (OCM BOCES).
Craig, who is in his sixth year as principal at the middle school will now become an assistant superintendent of instructional services with BOCES. The 1982 J-D graduate will be most remembered as being honored as the recipient of the New York State Middle School Principal of the Year. He will leave the J-D district and will start his new post on Dec. 1.
Also at the Oct. 6 J-D school board meeting, a highly contested argument arose from revised board policy 7430 – fundraising, which was presented by Superintendent Dr. Alice Kendrick, for its first reading.
Under Kendrick’s revised policy, there would be restrictions and guidelines of how anyone in the J-D school system can fundraise.
“The plan would not allow solicitation door to door by students,” Kendrick said. “If any group wished to receive fundraising, they would be required to submit a fundraising plan, though not laborious, but just to ask any group to specify their plans. Basically it would also put time frames for submissions in writing and set dates for each semester.”
Board member Maren King questioned the proposed policy that would require any group that wants to pursue fundraising would have to submit a letter in writing.
“So basically, anytime someone wants to go to Wegman’s to ask for a cake, they would have to give them a letter approved by the schools,” King said.
Kendrick joked, but essentially answered, “Yes,” to King’s comment.
The revised plan would also enable the board to have a district fundraising calendar in order to avoid overlapping fundraisers. Kendrick also said that it would give the district a better understanding of where the fundraising is going.
Board member Dennis Resetarits disagreed with portions of the revised policy. He voiced his opinion that the new policy would restrict some fundraising and that students who would have benefited from corporate contributions may not with the new restrictions. He said it would curb student’s fundraising work.
“Now we’re telling the fundraiser what to do with their money,” Resetarits said. “Why should we tell a group what to do with their money? It’s the advisors’ role to address this as part of their plan. It should not be us on some board dictating how fundraising should be spent.”
The discussion of fundraising lasted close to an hour at the Oct. 6 meeting. In the midst of reviewing the proposal, board members Resetarits and Samuel Young did not see eye to eye, as both members cited that the other “was missing the point” of the proposal.
Young thought that it is the board’s responsibility to approve and determine what fundraising plans are responsible and to be used.
“I see this policy as being aimed at regulating some of the students groups, that’s where this board has expressed concerns,” Young said. “By in large it is a good policy change. It calls for oversight and ought to be adapted in some form.”
Several paragraphs had been taken out of revised policy number 7430 by the end of the board meeting. Board member Virginia Murphy said the revised policy should just ensure that “three groups aren’t selling oatmeal cookies on the same day.” As a result, some of the language was changed.
Kendrick said that she would be happy to go with the board’s recommendation either way.
“I’m not sure if we have an agreement, so we will bring it back to board at the next meeting,” Kendrick said.
The board will next meet at 7 p.m. Monday Oct. 20 at the J-D High School District Office on Maple Drive in DeWitt.
Darren Benda is a journalism major studying at Syracuse University.