KUSD standing committee meetings report

Four KUSD standing committees met tonight.  Below is a summary of those meetings:

Audit/Budget/Finance Committee Meeting

  • The 2010-2011 financial audit report was reviewed.  Dave Maccoux, CPA, of Schenck, S.C., answered committee members’ questions.  Bob Nuzzo wanted a synopsis of Maccoux’s trend analysis.  Other post-employment benefits (OPEB) cost the district $18 million annually.  Only $3.5 million is funded.

  • One hundred and forty-five million dollars ($145 million) represents the district’s unfunded liability.  Added to that the $5.5 million in assets based on an actuarial report, this gives a total of approximately $151 million in future liability.  The funding will impact the district from a budget perspective as employees near retirement.  The annual required contribution has been adjusted from $18.6 million last year to $17.8 million this year.  Only $3.5 million to $3.8 million is funded.  The liability increases as the years progress.  Services provided to employees in the past will cause a deficit next year.  “The district needs to figure out how to fund this going forward,” Maccoux said.  “Secondly, the general fund reserves are on the smaller side of where we’d like to see them.”
  • Joe Thalman had a question on the fund balance.  Total expenditures from the general fund totaled $276 million.  Divide that by twelve, and you get approximately $23 million per month.  The fund balance is $16 million to $17 million per month.  “We don’t even have one month of expenditures set aside.  How many months of reserve should we have?”  Maccoux stated that, based on our size, 15% of our annual budget is the benchmark.  (The districts budget for 2012 is $315.2 million.)  Thalman wanted to know how this impacts the cost of the district’s short-term and long-term borrowing.  The bond rating and the decrease in the general fund are components, and the district’s ability to cover its budget is another.  Michele Wieberg of PMA Securities stated that OPEB used to be a bigger concern in the past.  A benefit plan review needs to be conducted to analyze and reduce costs.   Secondly, the district needs to find or build up the balance in a trust account to offset liability.  “KUSD has done that, with Fund 73.  Now, the district needs to review its benefits,” Wieberg stated.
  • Vacancy dollars as of December 16, 2011, were estimated at $271,440.  The calculation is based on how long the position is vacant and how long it’s been budgeted for.  Tina Schmitz, chief financial officer, commented that vacancy dollars are no longer budgeted for.  In prior years, the item was budgeted at $1 million; this item no longer exists in the budget.
  • Monthly financial statements as of November 30, 2011, were reviewed.  Schmitz stated that the funds are tracking to budget, and she stated that she saw no issues on the expenditure side.
  • The refinancing of 2002 bonds issued under revenue limits was reviewed.  The original bonds were issued in 2002 to refinance the district’s unfunded pension liability with the Wisconsin Retirement System and were issued for more than $16.7 million.  The original plan was to go out to the market in October, 2011, which was later postponed.  KUSD’s credit rating was downgraded by Moody’s Investor’s Service recently.  It went from Aa3 (stable) to A1 (negative outlook), a one-notch downgrade.  The rating applies to the district’s outstanding general obligation debt.  After receiving bids from several regional financial institutions, one was selected which represented the lowest bid, from BMO out of Chicago.  In October, it was estimated that there would be a savings in interest amounting to $65,000/year.  This savings should still be realized, even with the credit rating downgrade.  There should be a total savings of $400,000 in interest to the district.  Interest rates are lower now than a few months ago.  This item will be presented at the January 24th, 2012, board meeting for approval.

Joint Personnel/Policy and Curriculum/Program Committee Meeting

  • The 2010-2011 annual report card was reviewed.  Anderson Lattimore, assistant superintendent of educational accountability went over the highlights of the 258-page report.  Hispanic students registered the largest increase in the percent of total student enrollment (11.8% to 22.5%).  Black students also reported an increase, although much smaller (13.1% to 15.7%).  Almost 49% (48.88%) of KUSD students were eligible to participate in the federally funded free/reduced lunch program, an increase of 5.57%.  At every grade level, students of color, students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students and English language learner (ELL) students reported lower percentages of students who were proficient or advanced in both reading and math on the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS), Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE) and the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment (WAA).
  • KUSD is slowly closing the “opportunity gaps” that superintendent Michele Hancock speaks of often.  On the ACT Assessment college entrance examination, KUSD continued to outperform the nation in the average composite score (21.1).  The district goal of 22 was missed for this reporting period.  Average daily attendance for students increased slightly to 93.7%.  Rates had a declining trend as students progressed from elementary to middle school and again when moving on to high school.  The district did not meet the school board approved goal of 95%.    The district-wide cohort graduation rate decreased to 79.4%.  The goal of 100% was not met.  The number of explusions decreased in each of the reported student subgroups.  Only two students were expelled in school year 2010-2011.  Black students reported the highest suspension, truancy, and dropout rates.
  • Future agenda items included an update on policy vs. programming, and an update on the Response to Intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS) programs.

Personnel Policy Committee Meeting

There was only one head custodian retirement on the list of appointments, leaves of absence, retirements, and resignations.

Curriculum/Program Committee Meeting

  • The Head Start semi-annual report was reviewed.  Melody Orban, Head Start administrator, and Belinda Grantham, director of preschool, answered questions.  Three hundred and eighty-nine (389) students are currently enrolled in the Head Start program.  This represents full attendance.  There are 147 active students on the waiting list.  Some statistics from the 2010-2011 Head Start Program year are:  80% of children received the mandated physical examination; 82% of children received the mandated dental screening; 28% of the children were in Head Start for two years; 4% of the families received crises assistance during the year; 11% (47 children) dropped out of the program; 50% of the children came from two-parent families; 15% of the two-parent families had both parents employed; 29% of families had less than a high school education; and in 35% of our children’s families, English was not the primary language.  The KUSD Early Education Programs of Special Education for Early Childhood, KUSD 4K, and Head Start have collaborated in an effort to provide consistency to parents and to strengthen the services offered to families participating in early education.  KUSD Early Education uses the Creative Curriculum System for Preschool(R).  The assessment tool for this program will be a future agenda item.
  • The Head Start program was able to hire two family service providers because KUSD is paying for the teachers now.

Planning/Facilities/Equipment Committee Meeting

This meeting was cancelled for January 2012.

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