A last-minute agenda item was added to the New Albany-Plain Local school board's list Monday night.

A last-minute agenda item was added to the New Albany-Plain Local school board's list Monday night.

Derek Benseler, a member of the community advisory financial committee, or the finance subcommittee as it is regularly called, read a prepared letter to the board on behalf of the committee.

After the subcommittee's first meeting last month, members submitted a letter to the board and to Superintendent Steve Castle, outlining why they think their committee could better serve the community by looking forward at revenues and expenditures rather than at reviewing spending after it has occurred.

In Benseler's comments to the board Monday night, he said the subcommittee members had received a response to their original letter from treasurer Brian Ramsay, stating that "our suggestions did not fit into the scope and charge of the committee, as defined by the superintendent."

Benseler and the other committee members asked the board to reconsider their recommendations.

Board member Mark Ryan said he thinks the committee should be able to look at revenues and expenditures before they occur.

"These individuals have a lot of experience personally with finance and professionally with school finance," Ryan said. "I think their desire is to have a more forward-looking evaluation to be part of the process."

Ryan said the advisory committee could be instrumental in evaluating many aspects of the school budget.

"They are not necessarily managing the day-to-day finances, but they are informing us easily of some of the decisions we can take today," he said.

Board member Peter Horvath said he looks to have discussions with the committee, as Benseler had recommended in his letter to the board. Horvath said the board would plan a special work session, separate from the board's monthly work session, to meet with the finance subcommittee.

"This could be a way to have an ongoing, independent community view that surfaces issues, that forecasts, that can do some explorations and allow us to have a good impact of a continuing finance committee," Horvath said. "I think independence is always a good thing."

Board member Doug Flowers said he thinks the subcommittee would be important as the board moves forward with its strategic planning.

"We may think we know how to get there, but I think it's always good to have that additional perspective that serves as a reality check," he said.

gmartineau@thisweeknews.com