, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 1, 2013

Audit shows Pentucket's books are in good shape


Conducting annual audits on student activity funds that are formally reported to the school committee is another good idea, auditors says. State law requires the audits and wants them to include a reconciliation between cash balances and bank statements; evidence of compliance with school committee procedures; and supporting documentation for randomly selected samples. The auditors warned that by not reconciling the departmental records for student activity accounts with the bank balances and the general ledger on a regular basis, there is an increased risk of misuse that “could lead to undetected permanent deficits.”

At a meeting with the School Board last Tuesday, Pentucket Business Manager Michael Bergeron reported that he has already planned on an audit of student activity accounts next year.

Auditors say the district should also plan to obtain an updated actuarial valuation for its Other Post Employment Benefit Obligations in time for next year’s audit, and they noted that documentation is needed to certify that an employee whose position is funded through a major grant -- such as special education or the federal educational jobs program -- is meeting the requirements of the grant.

Powers and Sullivan warned that major school building projects underway at the elementary schools will negatively impact the district’s financial position -- but only temporarily. The projects, which tapped state Green Repair funds, required the district to borrow money that will eventually be paid by the towns through their community assessments.

In other business on Tuesday, the school board tabled a discuss on a request from Merrimac officials to enter into a partnership with an energy services company to seek efficiencies in their town facilities, including the elementary schools. Members wanted more time to review the proposal.

The committee briefly reviewed a proposed process for evaluating the superintendent that is based on the state’s new educator evaluation system. They announced that a new paraprofessional contract had been ratified and accepted donations from the Merrimac PTO for supplies and equipment totaling $4,816; and from Groveland Youth Soccer for equipment totally $300.

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