Annual external audit presented for city schools
Submitted by Kathie Scott on October 12, 2012 - 12:00pm
Annual External Audit Report Presented
David Mancuso of Freed Maxick, CPAs, PC, presented a summary of their audit of the basic financial statements of the Batavia City School District for the fiscal year that ended June 30, indicating that there were no significant, unusual or controversial transactions or accounting practices.
Some specific points from the report and presentation follow.
- The district currently maintains an A1 credit rating from Moody’s Credit Corporation, which is among the highest in Genesee County.
- Amid uncertain economic times, the district has been successful in efforts to spend and budget conservatively, as well as to plan for the long-term by setting funds aside in reserve for specific areas of concern: unemployment insurance, retirement contribution, repairs, and employee benefit liability. In an economic climate where the future is likely to see reduced state aid as well as increased expenses, continued economic conservatism is to be encouraged.
- The district total tax levy has increased only $473,599 or 2.97 percent since 2007-08 or an average yearly increase of $94,720 or averaging 0.59 percent, while at the same time maintaining most of our educational program offerings by restructuring its educational plan and building footprint.
- The district finished the year with an unexpected general fund surplus of approximately $451,519. This was primarily due to conservative budget estimates in difficult-to-predict categories such as to special education services, foster care tuition, and utilities; being able to cover some budgeted payroll costs with money from grants, delaying purchasing and savings in utilities because of a rather mild winter. The district was able to put this money into the retirement contribution reserve to help with future increases in employer contribution rate increases which are tentatively anticipated to rise over 18 percent for 2013-14 and 13 percent for 2014-15.
- The unassigned fund balance (formerly referred to as undesignated fund balance) of the district’s general fund was $1,508,767 and this amount was within the state’s limit of 4 percent of the ensuing year’s budget, excluding of the amount designated for the subsequent year’s budget.
The complete report will be available on the district’s Web site (www.bataviacsd.org): go to the “District” tab for a drop-down menu, scroll down and click on “Business Office,” click on “Financial Reports,” then scroll down to the appropriate report.
More after the jump, click on the headline.
Jackson Primary School Toured
Jackson Primary School Principal Diane Bonarigo welcomed the board of education members and guests to the school which now houses two universal pre-kindergarten classrooms (each with a morning and afternoon class), 10 kindergarten classes, nine first-grade classes, and one 12:1 class. In addition to providing a tour of the facility, she introduced several initiatives that will begin soon. The first, Science Stars, “starring” first-graders, will run from November to June and will involve various labs and activities that will culminate in a science fair. A second will be an ELA and math night this fall for students and their parents in which teachers will plan and present fun lessons aligned with the Common Core Standards. In January, advanced writers and readers will have an opportunity to publish a piece of their work, ideally one with a national audience.
Annual Professional Performance Review Plan (APPR) Approved
In the final step before submitting it to the NYS Education Department (NYSED), Deputy Superintendent Chris Dailey presented the district’s APPR plan to the board for its approval. In his presentation, he explained the 100-point scoring system that is used to rate teachers and principals as highly effective (91-100 points), effective (75-90 points), developing (65-74 points), or ineffective (0-64 points), noting that “effective” and “highly effective” are the only acceptable target scores. In addition, he explained state and local criteria and measurement tools -- such as student grades on state and/or local assessments, on-site observations by a supervisor, and setting and meeting targeted goals that boost student success -- that are used to determine scores. While the APPR format is new, the process of staff development and of implementing strategies to improve student learning -- the true aim of the APPR plan -- have long been the standard.
The board adopted the plan which now will be sent to the NYS Education Department for approval. While expecting the plan to be approved by the state, Mr. Dailey also reminded the board that this was a one-year plan so the committee will continue to review and adjust it in preparation for next year. The board and superintendent of schools commended Mr. Dailey and the committee for their work in the development of the plan.
The APPR plan, once approved by the state, will be posted on the district Web site.
2013-2014 Budget Calendar and Board’s Budget Guidelines
Business Administrator Scott Rozanski submitted for approval a budget calendar to be followed for the preparation and presentation of the 2012-2013 spending plan for the district, leading up to the vote in May. Some important dates to note include the following:
· Deadline for turning in Budget Ambassador applications: Jan. 3
· Budget Ambassador meetings: Feb. 13 and 20
· Board of Education petitions due: April 24
· Voter Registration Day: April 24
· Proposed Budget available for public view: May 6
· Presentation of Proposed Budget/Propositions: May 14, 7 p.m., Batavia High
· Budget, Board of Education, and Propositions (if any) vote: May 21, 7 a.m. through 9 p.m. at Batavia High and John Kennedy Intermediate schools.
He also presented suggested guidelines requiring board input and approval, based on parameters that the board has set in the past for the development of the preliminary budget. Those guidelines, as approved by the board, include:
- Meet all applicable mandates, and health, safety, and legal requirements;
- Fulfill all contractual obligations;
- Support educational programs and services vital to successful implementation of the district mission and vision;
- Identify alternative funding sources;
- Prepare the first draft of the 2013-14 budget with a tax levy increase over the 2012-13 budget of no more than the Consumer Price Index, or the calculated tax levy cap.
Student Count and Consolidation; Superintendent Report
Superintendent of Schools Margaret Puzio reported that the annual count of students which provides a snapshot of student enrollment -- the Basic Educational Data System (BEDS) -- held no big surprises. The district has 23 more students than at this time last year, most of which are in the ninth grade and, to a slightly lesser degree, the fifth grade.
In continuing to check in on the consolidation process, Mrs. Puzio visited the fifth-grade wing at the middle school during one of the enrichment periods held twice a week. Noting that “it was even better than expected,” she cited the students’ enthusiasm and engagement in their activities, which included groups involved in keyboarding, math games, an art project, and a creative thinking activity. Staying through dismissal, she was pleased to report that it all went very smoothly.