SAD 44 is “running financially well,” auditor Bruce Nadeau told the School Board in a presentation last week.

Nadeau, of Smith and Co., made the presentation in accordance with state law.

He reviewed audit figures for FY’12 (two years ago). At that time the district had an unassigned general fund balance of approximately $1.4 million.

It currently stands between $800,000 and $900,000, according to Supt. Dave Murphy.

SAD 44’s annual budget is about $10 million.

“We advise our clients as best they can to try to have a healthy fund balance,” Nadeau told directors. “In these times of uncertainty, if something were to go catastrophic, people are looking to the local government for stability. By having a healthy fund balance, you’re able to better withstand a downturn in the economy.”

He provided some insight into the accumulation of the fund balance for that year. The revenue stream was $157,766 above the amount anticipated, and expenditures were under the budgeted amount by $347,623, for a combined total of $505,389 for the “budgetary fund balance.” Of that $102,500 was carried over to the next year to indirectly reduce taxes, leaving the total excess of revenues over expenditures at $402,889.

This past spring district residents voted to place $500,000 from the fund balance in the Capital Improvement Account for FY’14.

Nadeau also noted that in FY’12 the school lunch program was “still in the black. Most school lunch programs are running a deficit. It’s very expensive to maintain compliance with federal nutrition rules, and to not charge so much that it lowers the participation levels to the point where they can’t make a profit or at least break even.”

Murphy said the program was still in the black at the end of FY’13 (this past June).

Nadeau praised the work of the district’s Central Office, and in a reference to the school consolidation effort of several years ago added, “It boggles my mind in your case – I don’t see administrative savings in combining with another [school] system. There’s nobody here for administration.”

Building issues

An ailing fuel tank at the Andover Elementary School has been replaced with a smaller one to avoid the risk of a spill, Murphy told the board.

The old tank did not pass a recent inspection.

“It would not be an appropriate thing to take a chance about whether or not that tank would survive the winter,’ he said.

So 6,000 gallons of fuel in the tank has been pumped out and redistributed to other buildings in the district.

A 500-gallon above-ground tank will now supply the school.

“This minimizes the risk of leaving that amount of oil in the tank that close to the school,” Murphy said. “We will not pull the existing tank out. We’ll defer that until after the end of the school year.”

In other facilities-related issues at last week’s board meeting, directors approved a 10-year Capital Improvement/Obsolescence Plan for district facilities.

Facilities Supervisor Ron Deegan stressed the plan is a “living document” that will likely be updated as other unanticipated needs arise.

He went over year one (2013-2014) expenses from $100,000 that was budgeted. Of $27,282 spent so far, $13,500 have gone to Telstar roof inspection and repairs, most recently over the Industrial Arts wing.

Proposed for the remainder of the year is $51,135, with $19,400 each for a generator transfer switch at the Crescent Park Elementary and Woodstock Elementary schools.

Other funds are targeted for security-system expenses at CPS and Telstar.

Murphy also updated the board on several topics:

The process is continuing to return the Ethel Bisbee School to Bethel next year. Staff is currently going through items in storage at the building for relocation or sale.

The district teaching staff has been assessing student skills, setting academic goals and setting professional goals under the Maine Schools of Excellence Teacher Incentive Fund $1 million grant it received for this year. The program includes financial incentives for staff for meeting certain goals, and provides funding for facilitators, teacher leaders and other support.

The Andover Elementary School is receiving coaching through the state Department of Education and financial support for professional development after its designation as a “priority school,” – the result of recent low standardized test scores.

Also at last week’s meeting, directors voted to readmit an expelled Telstar High School student. The action followed an hour-long executive session.

Appointments

In personnel appointments, the board approved Timothy Megan as a part-time elementary instrumental music teacher and Scott Underhill as a TMS PE//health teacher.

Other appointments included: Telstar Middle School – Head Boys Basketball, Timothy O’Connor; Head Girls Basketball, David Berry; Nordic Ski Coach, Kirk Siegel; Alpine Ski Coach, Megan McCarthy.

Telstar High School: – Head Boys Basketball, Mark Thurlow; JV Boys Basketball, Ryan Kimball; Head Girls Basketball, Brian Mills; JV Girls Basketball, Scott Haines; Nordic Ski Coach, Sarah Southam; Alpine Ski Coach, John Eliot; GOT Farms Advisor, Melissa Prescott; National Honor Society Advisor, Sarah Southam; Senior Class Co-Advisor: Doug Bennett (with Melissa Poston); K-5 GOT Farms advisor, Marie Corbin-Keane.

The next board meeting will taking place Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Telstar.

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