WV school board announces results of audit

| 26 Oct 2017 | 01:32

By Abby Wolf
— The Warwick Valley School District board presented the results of the latest audit at its regular meeting earlier this month.
The audit, conducted by CPA Raymond G. Preusser provided a three-year trend analysis as it reviewed the district’s financial statements for the fiscal year just ended, providing a comparison between income/assets and liabilities/expenses.
Sixty-seven percent of WVSD’s revenue comes from property and other tax items; the district receives 30 percent of its revenue from state and federal sources.
From the fiscal 2017 year budget of $87,014,894, the district spent:
81 percent of its funds on instruction;
11 percent is for general support;
Student transportation accounted for 7 percent;
The remaining 1 percent went to service interest on debt.
According to Preusser, the district has a 4.2:1 ratio of assets to liabilities, an improvement from 3:1 in 2015.
The business office has, in the auditor’s view, maximized revenues and minimized expenditures.
With regard to expenditures, Preusser observed that, typically, spending between 90 – 95 percent of a school district’s annual budget is considered reasonable; WVSD spent 97 percent of its budget, but, he added, “It’s reasonable (in order) to run (WV’s) academic budget.”
WV currently has a $1.6 million surplus. Preusser commended the school board for not using up all its surplus/reserves in one year.
Preusser continued that, because of funds set aside, the district will save the taxpayers money in the long run as it looks to finance its proposed capital projects.
School Board President, Lynn Lillian, said, “This sounds like good news!”
Capital projectsThe school board will hold a hearing on a proposed capital project in the district on Nov. 13; the vote is scheduled for Dec. 7.
The $10.8 million project, covering repairs and renovations district-wide, is expected to have no impact on taxpayers: nearly $7 million would come from state aid; the balance would be covered by WV schools’ capital reserve fund, which is established in order to pay for such projects as they arise.
“This funding, along with the funds we have set aside in our capital reserve, eliminates any additional costs to taxpayers for this proposed capital project," said Schools Superintendent Dr. David Leach. “For this reason, the scope, as well as the costs of our capital projects, tend to be significantly less than those of many area school districts.”
Proposed repairs include:
Park Avenue Elementary: Upgrade the water system that dates from 1929; install building-wide air conditioning; replace the flooring in the classrooms.
Sanfordville: Convert water heaters from oil to natural gas; repave the student drop-off parking lot; replace worn interior doors; install a new cafeteria floor.
Middle school: Renovate library/media center and refurbish instructional and office space.
High school: Upgrade instructional space; repave the parking lot; repair the greenhouse; resurface the track; update bathrooms; replace the central electrical system; purchase an emergency generator.
Open house for GWL studentsThe high school will host an open house for prospective students from Greenwood Lake on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m.
Students will have the chance to tour the building, meet with teachers and current students, and learn about the classes, clubs and programs that WV high school offers, as well as ask questions they may have about the high school.
Among the courses offered: cosmetology, law enforcement, and video production – subjects previously only available through CTEC, Leach said.
Currently, there are 165 tuition-paying students from Greenwood Lake who attend the high school.
Other businessGreenwood Lake has named Dr. Steven Cohen its new Superintendent of Schools; he had been interim superintendent until now.
The WVCSD board gave its blessing to several student field trips:
• High school students will visit Marist College in Poughkeepsie, and the Henry Wallace Center in Hyde Park on Nov. 3;
• High school students will travel to the Rochester Convention Center and Radisson Hotel in Rochester on Nov. 30;
• The middle school music department will take its students to Six Flags for its annual field trip on June 1, 2018.
Feedback from residentsDuring the public comment period, local resident – as well as frequent BOE critic and onetime school board candidate – John Ihnachak, expressed his opposition to the proposed capital project:
“Here I am again,” he began. Ihnachak opposes the project because “You have done many capital projects (in the past) – roofs, lockers…”
He wanted to know “Who’s going to pay for this? We (the taxpayers) will!...I am retired, I have to live, too! Please, have mercy for us!”
He also questioned the timing of the vote to approve the project, Dec. 7: “Why is the (vote) scheduled for December 7? Is it (because it’s) Pearl Harbor Day?”
Ihnachak accused the school board of deliberately choosing that date in order to prevent seniors from coming out to vote in opposition to the capital project.
Ihnachak further accused the BOE of being unresponsive to his emails and phone calls.
District residents who wish to be more informed about, or provide input on, the proposed capital project may do so, at the Nov. 13 public hearing.
NextWork session, health insurance – Oct. 30, 7 p.m., at the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center.
Regular meeting, to include Capital Project public hearing – Nov. 13, 7 p.m., at the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center.