By Nicole Gugino
BROCTON - The Brocton Board of Education received a clean audit at its recent board meeting.
Fiscal Auditor Louann Laurito-Bahgat of Bahgat Laurito-Bahgat said there were no problems in the district's audit and gave it an unqualified audit opinion, the best a district can get.
She pointed out that last year the district refinanced its debt and was able to lower its interest rate from 3.65 percent to 2 percent, saving the district money.
However, she pointed out increasing post-employment benefits paint a grim picture for the future of the school.
"That post employment benefits number, that $3,228,035 ... is the estimated liability for retirees health insurance ... now that we are adopting the school code of accounting, that picture looks a little grim," she said. "The reality is (Brocton does) have that liability, and we won't be paying for it all at one time, we will be paying for it over several years as our retirees end up using our health insurance."
She added expenditures for the district are expected to rise 6.33 percent due to teachers and employees retirement system increases.
She also pointed out that the school lunch program closed out the year with a negative balance. She said the $7,577 would not "break the bank" because the district has a fund balance to offset it. However, she said she thinks the amount was negative because of the new federal food standards which cut the salt and sugar allowances in school lunches as well as changing the portions and types of food served.
"You're not the only district that saw a negative in the school lunch this year ... I think we can attribute that to the change in the menu that was put forward by the federal government," she said.
Despite these things, she said it was "a very good audit."
The board also approved change orders for the capital project.
Superintendent John Hertlein said there is still $500,000 in unspent EXCEL aid for which the district has yet to plan projects. He said the capital project committee has made a list of possible projects.
Board Member Thomas DeJoe said he sees this money as an opportunity to do projects put off each year due to a lack of funds.
Board Member Steve Smith asked if the district could purchase a scissor lift with the money.
Board President Doug Walter asked if the snack shack could be rebuilt with bathrooms with the money.
Hertlein said he did not think either would be aidable, but would look into it.
The board also approved an extension in the two construction managers contracts for three days a week for Nov. 4 through Dec. 31.
The board approved the hire of four .075 full-time equivalent AIS homework advisers.
An agreement with the Brocton Support Association was approved retroactive to July 1. Hertlein said a four-year agreement with the CSEA has nearly been reached.
The board rescheduled its board retreat for Dec. 2 from 6-9 p.m. in the library in order to accommodate Erie 2-Chautauqua Cattaraugus BOCES Superintendent David O'Rourke, who will run the retreat.
The board instead decided to hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Nov. 20, the original date of the retreat, in the conference room in order to certify the taxes and take care of any other business before the board.
The board's next regular meeting will be Dec. 4.