BOYCEVILLE — The School Board listened to a good report from the school’s auditors at their meeting Monday evening. Representatives from Baker Tilly presented their annual report on the school district’s finances.
Joan Betz and Jim Murray addressed the board explaining their report in detail and the new items and how to read the document. Betz talked about fund balances. “We like to see a two to three months worth of expenditures as the undesignated fund balance,” Betz told the board, “and your balance is more than three months.” She continued that at the end of the school year, “you do not have deficients in any fund balances.”
Murray talked about the school district’s long-term debt and their borrowing limit. He noted that the district had some eleven million dollars of debt, but that is about half of the legal limit the school could borrow. He questioned the board if their financial advisor had discussed with them the possibility of addressing the 2008 and 2009 bonds. “Ask about refinancing those bonds for savings because of the lower interest rates.”
Murray addressed the budget items and noted that all accounts except the transportation account came in under budget. He commented on the food and community service accounts that both showed positive results. The food service had a $44,000 positive balance and told the board that was good and gave the school the ability to improve the equipment. He said that some districts have to inject funds from the district to keep the food program afloat.
They suggested to the board that some internal controls were lacking with the financial reports but indicated that this was very common in school districts of the size of Boyceville. “You don’t have the resources to hire more people,” Murray said.
They also pointed out to the board that the school is required to prepare as special report because the district received more than $500,000 in federal funds. Murray noted that that amount might be increased to three-quarters of a million in the future, but Betz told the board that the district received $749,000 in federal funds last year. “You’re right at that bubble,” she said.
Middle/High School Principal Steve Glocke reported about the Veterans Day Program at the school and how well attended it was. He recognized five young ladies from the high school that wrote essays and read them at the program. He praised those five, who are Nichole Drinkman, Kayla Rettner, Hayley Hanson, Rebecca Yaeger and Anna Hagen.
Glocke also told about the increase use of technologies by students and that has slowed down the schools equipment. He told the board that the school’s bandwidth was increased on Monday from 30 MBs to 50 MBs.
He also talked about the upcoming winter sports activities that are starting, with the first boys’ basketball game set for the home gym on Thursday evening against Plum City. The first girls’ game is next Tuesday, November 26 against Spring Valley.
Tiffany Creek Elementary principal Nick Kaiser also reported on the Veterans Day Program at Tiffany Creek and noted that about 50 veterans attended and they had more community members involved than ever before.
Kaiser noted that the Elementary Program is set for December 9 and that the PALS Assessment results will be send home with the report cards in December.
Bonnie Barker, Director of Special Education reported, “last month I mentioned that the Special Education was completing their self-assessment and would be submitting the findings to the Department of Special Education. I am happy to announce that our self-assessment has been submitted and an ad hoc committee has met to discuss the findings.” She indicated, “That is a nice thing to get off the plate.”
In his report, School Superintendent, Kevin Sipple told the board, “the changes in education the past three years have increased the need for more training for teachers and support staff. We will have a different calendar this year over the week of Thanksgiving. We will have no students during the week of November 25 to 29th. We will have two days of in-service training for staff on Monday and Tuesday.”
Sipple told the board that he had received a letter from the Republican members on the state’s Joint Finance Committee requesting some input about the Common Core. Sipple noted, “I was pleased they took the time to inquire and ask questions.”
Sipple questioned the board about how and who was going to plan the high school’s 100th anniversary program that will be next year. The board discussed this at length and they finally asked each board member to come up with several names that they could contact to help out with the event.
Board member Steve Bird thought the task might be “overwhelming” but he indicated that the district should not be putting money into this event, but his second thought was “it would be hard to get financial help from the community.” Board President Gail Stark echoed that feeling, “I don’t want it to become a burden.” Sipple will lead the group if they can get volunteers to help out.
In other action the board approved the retirement requests from Doug Siler as Fleet Mechanic and Julie Siler as Custodian. They also approved the hiring of Connie Swanson as Academic Decathlon Advisor.
The board accepted a $400 grant to the Wellness Program from HealthPartners and River Insurance and a Mayo Clinic Health Systems grant for $1,000. A donation from Rick Rother of soybeans value at $635.00 was also accepted.