FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 directors learned Tuesday, June 18, that a review of  2017-18 financial records revealed no knowledge of fraud or suspected fraud, instances of noncompliance or suspected noncompliance or violations of budget ordinances, according to a letter from the auditor addressed to the board.

The audit was completed by Runyon Kersteen Ouellette of Portland.

Timothy Gill, a CPA with the firm, made recommendations to directors to address deficiencies and concerns of the 2017-18 audit.

“The business office has a small staff, and that is not ideal,” he said. “Corrections have been made since 2017-18 with a new position added to the office. This is a comment I give to 98% of the districts I go to.”

Gill also said collection and depositing of school lunch cash receipts should not be completed by the same person. “These tasks should be segregated,” he said.

He also recommended a reconciliation process for online payments made to the food service program. Even though parents pay online, funds could fail to transfer or be deposited in a wrong account.

Because of the way the district records summer salaries, $1.5 million in wages earned during the school year are paid out over the summer. “On June 30, those wages technically become a liability because they have already been earned,” he said.

Superintendent Tina Meserve said she been in contact with the Department of Education regarding how to accrue summer salaries without impacting the budget.

“They are willing to work with us over time,” she said. “We need to build our way to pay the salaries in the year they are earned.”

Gill also recommended instituting a mini-audit of student activity accounts. “Again, 98% of districts receive this recommendation,” he said. “I recommend looking at those throughout the year to keep receipts organized.”

Expenditures were under budget by $826,000. This was because of decreased health insurance, personnel changes and ed-tech positions not being filled. Decreased fuel and heating costs also contributed to the saving.

Those unspent funds, Meserve said, were rolled over and used to reduce the budget the following year. “This is like a savings account,” she said. “It has to go back through the budget process before being spent.”

In other matters, Laura Columbia, the district’s curriculum coordinator, applauded administrators, staff and bus drivers who helped residents of Edgewood Rehabilitation & Living Center, who were displaced by a fire Sunday, June 16.

More than 40 people were evacuated from the building at 228 Fairbanks Road and taken to Mt. Blue High School.

“They pulled off an amazing feat,” Columbia said. “What a great example of community involvement. We get (negative) feedback about having big, new buildings, but they really do benefit the community.”

Meserve announced 14 new teacher hires across the district.

“There are four teacher positions and a few specialist positions left to fill,” she said. “Hopefully there won’t be too many last minute hires at the end of August.”

She also announced the resignation of the district psychologist, three teachers and four ed techs.

“As you can see from their resignation letters, the vast majority of these resignations are because they want to move closer to family,” Meserve said. “Our location is a barrier but not one we can do anything about.”

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