Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Worcester Public Schools Finance and Operations quarterly report

meeting before the budget hearing...agenda is here

First up is the annual audit reports (this is the GAO agreed upon procedures and then the one on federal grants which is done for the city but includes the places that WPS gets funding from federal funds)
GAO agreed upon procedures has no findings this year
federal audit has many fewer findings than in the past (sorry no link here, as it wasn't submitted as backup)
Uniform Grant Guidance: reduced the number of grants that needed to be audited
Title I finding: "happy to report that in FY17, this one is going away"
indirect cost rate being charged by city is different than what the schools present
we should note here that this is because the school district conceded
only other finding is not finding plan as looked for: "not an operational issue, more of a documentation issue"

Quarterly update and where all the accounts are as of now
Foley: as expected
Allen: deficit resolved through building utilities account
accounts with significant deficient, IAs due to loss of Quality K grant, sped tuition, workers comp, transportation
savings in utilities carried forward even for the FY18 budget (due to solar panels)
Now projecting a deficit of $5124 for the end of the year
Foley: recap how the IA funding came through the city?
Allen: tuition assessment for charters increased by $484,000
city typically would reduce WPS funding by that amount; retained $350,000 that was set aside for this (which city could have taken back)
also transferred over $70,000 which school committee appropriated on IAs
city picking up workers comp (utterly didn't understand this at the time--possibly this had been discussed in executive session, but it came up again later)
total loss of Quality K grant was $750,000
Foley: open spots in crossing guards; would rather see filled
"hard to find people to work for a couple of hours a day for minimal dollars"
Allen: city is covering $280,000 of workers compensation; it is artificially reduced in the quarterly report
already underfunded
Foley: any trends that you can identify other than the dollars increasing?
Allen: best way to gauge, assuming a consistent number of employees, should calculate equivalent growth with health insurance costs
Colorio: why is transportation up so severely in workers comp?
Allen: number of employees have gone up who have filed claims

new section in budget targeting how, if there were more capital funds, how they'd be spent
(it's in the subcommittee because of the Lakeview retaining wall, but it's an interesting list)
McCullough: is there an ongoing data collection? How are they being decided on?
Allen: staff observation in scope of work
facilities master plan at 28 schools at end of calendar year

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