Auditor Ron Smith of RHR Smith & Company gave the Wiscasset School Department high marks on December 14.
Speaking to the school committee, Smith said the department’s deferral balance fell from $ 1.4 million in 2019 to about $ 1.3 million in 2020. “The good news is you have forecast a drop of almost half a million dollars. think you are definitely rock solid. One big reason is that the pandemic has started, he said. Tuition fees have come down, but so have expenses, he said. “So overall your budget was favorable around $ 400,000 in 2020.”
He cautioned, COVID has made 2020 a difficult year to use as a benchmark, and May for 2021 as well. However, on a preliminary basis for 2021, it appears that the financial situation of Wiscasset schools continues to improve, he added.
“So I think this is great news for the Wiscasset School Department. “
Smith, on Zoom, told the committee, in face masks in the Wiscasset Middle High School library, food service was $ 12,000 in the hole. A planned payment of $ 30,000 will make up for that, ministry officials said.
Also on December 14, Schools Superintendent Dr Terry Wood and WMHS Deputy Director Warren Cossette said the ministry was working on updating its emergency management plan. The state is demanding it because of COVID, Wood said.
During the meeting and his superintendent’s report released earlier on Dec. 14, Wood said personnel issues persisted. “Many of us take on additional responsibilities and go beyond. This continues to be a statewide problem. We’re still looking for a permanent (finance) director, ”Wood wrote. Smith said interim CFO Cathy Coffey “is doing the business.” This should make the cabinet’s work easier during the next audit, he said.
Wood said zone superintendents were looking for a say and hoped for changes to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s quarantine procedures. Wood said healthy students endure long and sometimes multiple quarantines.
Wood announced in 2021 the Maine School Board Association Distinguished Service Awards for nurses Marilyn Sprague and Sommer Maybee. Wood read aloud the message from the MSBA Board of Directors thanking them for the contact tracing; “Stable orientation; And their assurances to parents, staff, administrators and students. “(It) made the schools operate at a very high standard …” Wood read. Committee members and others applauded when Sprague accepted it along with Maybee’s awards.
The committee will then meet on January 11.