WVSD successfully completes ‘very successful’ audit

District finances, handling get passing grade

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By Abby Wolf

— Nugent and Haeussler, an independent auditing firm engaged by the Warwick Valley School District, disclosed its findings at the conclusion of the recent audit of the school district at the school board’s regular meeting on Monday night.

Saying that they “learned a lot” – this is the firm’s first year reviewing the Warwick district – independent auditors Bill Trainor and Jennifer Traverse, whose work was completed over the summer, offered these key conclusions:

• The audit of internal controls of the district’s finances and of statutory compliance were both rated as “unqualified” (that is, unconditional), or a passing grade. (Auditors rate districts as being in Significant Stress; Moderate Stress; Susceptible to Stress; No Designation).

• The audit of the district’s control of extra-curricular activity funds was likewise rated “unqualified,” or passing.

• “Internal controls, personnel … all working as [they’re] supposed to.”

• With regard to financials – Tax certs, employee reserves a- re “reasonably funded,” according to Trainor: There are “no concerns.”

• The district, the auditors found, is “carrying an appropriate level of fund balance.”

The auditors concluded that “the district is in strong financial shape.”

“There are no indicators of any concern to the Comptroller – or the taxpayer,” Trainor added.

New York State’s Office of the Comptroller monitors school districts’ financial stress levels.

BOE member commendedLong-time board member Bob Howe is to be honored at the third annual Hudson Valley Heroes ceremony, where he will receive the Hudson Valley Heroes Volunteer Award for his work with the Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition, an organization dedicated to combating and preventing substance abuse and to “encouraging wise and healthy choices,” particularly in youth.

GWL students to be tour guidesThe high school guidance office is recruiting Greenwood Lake students to act as guides during the high school’s Open House to be held on Thursday, November 1.

New businessThe district renewed its lease agreement with Vision Ministries for the continued leasing of the former Pine Island Elementary building, to run from Oct. 1, 2018, through June 30, 2023, at a rate of $2,500 a month.

The school board also agreed to renew the lease of Patricia Quinn, for the use of a room in the former Kings Elementary School building, for $400 a month, from Nov. 1, 2018, through June 30, 2020.

The D’Antono Dance Company has secured the non-exclusive right to use the cafetorium and stage, plus the media center and one room of the PIE building, for $1,500 a month, from Nov. 1, 2018, through June 30, 2020.

School board OKs field tripsThe school board gave its blessing to the following students for upcoming field trips:

• High school students to go to Marist College in Poughkeepsie on Nov. 9;

• Middle school Wire Choir to travel to the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park on Nov. 16;

• High school students to travel to the Riverside Conference Center in Rochester from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2;

• Middle school Music Department annual field trip to Six Flags Great Adventure in Neptune, N.J., on June 7, 2019.

Student BOE memberStudent board member Madeleine Wadeson gave her rundown of some of the happenings in the high school:

• A common app workshop was to be held by the Guidance office on Oct. 16 as part of helping students in their college application process;

• SADD club will be selling T-shirts for Red Ribbon Week; members will be going to the middle school to talk to the students there about making smart choices;

• Members of the student Senate will be selling pink-themed items as part of Breast Cancer Awareness, with proceeds to go to Memorial Sloan Kettering;

• Students in Leadership Academy are going to a local horse farm to learn “how to be a leader by leading a horse,” according to Wadeson; and

• 15 Chorus members made it to All-State.

NextWork session: Community partnerships on Monday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m. at Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center.

Regular meeting: Monday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m. at Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center.

Watching school finances

New York State’s Office of the Comptroller monitors school districts’ financial stress levels.
From the Office of the Comptroller’s website:
“State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli created an early warning system for communities and school districts with fiscal problems. Alerting everyone to potential problems gives local officials and taxpayers the opportunity to be more proactive.
“The Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (the System) is OSC’s program to objectively identify issues with budgetary solvency—the ability to generate enough revenue to meet expenditures—for each county, city, town, village and school district.
“The system analyzes the financial information submitted to OSC by local governments against a set of uniform financial and environmental indicators.
“Financial indicators measure key drivers of fiscal stress in local government financial operations:
School Districts• Year-end fund balance
• Operating deficits/surpluses
• Cash position
• Reliance on short-term cash-flow debt
“Environmental indicators provide insight about economic and demographic forces confronting communities— that are beyond the immediate control of local officials but might influence revenue-raising capability and the demand for certain types of services:
• Percent of economically disadvantaged students
• Class size
• Teacher turnover rate
• Change in property value
• Budget vote approval rate
• Percent of English-language learners

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