New Albany News

District finances

Committee members want better monthly reports


Some members of New Albany-Plain Local's financial review and reporting committee said April 15 they need better monthly reporting.

Phil Derrow said costs associated with debt and larger expenses -- such as compensation for retiring teachers -- should be included in the monthly reports instead of showing up once or twice a year.

"We need to try to have more visibility, month in, month out, for the public," Derrow said. "When items are reported once or twice a year, wow, it seems like such a big number. If it's reported regularly, it seems like we've been open."

Treasurer Becky Jenkins said all the information is in the five-year forecast, which the FRRC reviews in the spring and fall before the school board votes on it. The five-year forecast details estimated revenue and expenditures and must be approved by the school board in October and updated in May.

The committee met April 15 with Jared Cottrell of Kennedy, Cottrell and Richards, the accounting firm hired last year to complete the district's first comprehensive annual financial report.

Cottrell said fiscal information can be reported to the committee in three ways, all of which provide different pictures of the district:

* The budgetary report shows cash flow throughout the month.

* The full accrual report shows all funds that come in and out and all that is owed by and to the district.

* The modified report includes near-term expenses and excludes long-term expenses, such as debt payments.

Jenkins suggested the committee review the CAFR at a future meeting, before determining what information the FRRC needs.

Jenkins also said the committee will review the five-year forecast next month.

She said committee members must be aware that the district will have to start removing funding for buses and technology from the general fund as permanent-improvements dollars dwindle.

The district's permanent-improvements levy pays for books, buses and other equipment. The levy expired in December 2009.

Superintendent April Domine said the technology department is tracking equipment usage over the next few months.

She said this summer, she will form an information technology advisory committee made up of business and community members. Parents also will be asked to provide feedback on technology during the survey sent out at the end of the year.