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Still several months from development of a conceptual budget, committee members considered what items should be at the top of the budget priorities list. Small groups worked on identifying priorities for budget consideration and reported what they felt were specific priorities and why. The top three items that came out of this small group work were:
1. Benefits and Salaries (about 91% of budget goes to salaries) , add $1 million in Board Reserve
2. Professional Development, Staffing, Transformation (Common Core, Accountability, Curriculum)
3. Teaching Materials and Equipment These items will help the superintendent put together conceptual budget.
Steve Ellbogen reminded the committee that in the past, priorities and budget decisions were based upon how it would affect the students.
Annual Audit Report
The Board Budget Development Committee also serves as the Audit Committee for the district. Representatives from NCSD’s third party auditors – Porter, Muirhead, Cornia & Howard – provided the committee with this year’s audit report. Auditors reviewed financial practices of the district for the year ending June 30, 2013.
After their professional analysis of the financial records, the district was given a clean audit. The auditors said that with an organization as large as NCSD, to have zero findings in the financial records, says a lot about the practices and procedures followed by the business office.
Steve pointed out the audit was delivered several weeks before it usually had been. He credited the good work of the staff and the auditors in getting the needed materials and documents together to provide this timely delivery.
The district supports 24 non-profit organizations on some level. Many of these organizations are utilized or supported on the site level, where a school will use funding out of its individual budget. The committee asked to review the total amount invested in these organizations. Trustee Reid said it’s nice to see how our schools are involved in the community and giving back to the community.
Out of the 16 vendors that are considered contract services with the district, many of them are utilized to support professional development time for teachers through the Discover Program. The Discover Program is funded through the Natrona County Recreation Board.
Trustee Christopherson was concerned about the amount of some of the contracts and requested to hear more about what each Discover presenter provides to evaluate if the schools are getting a valuable service. The contracts over $25,000 require Board approval and the Board has already had the opportunity to review and has approved the contracts of these vendors.
The Board Budget Development Committee meets again on Dec. 12 at 3:30 p.m.