Audit shows G-A school district prepared for future

PAT FRIDGEN

The 2010-11 auditor's report, presented to the Greencastle-Antrim School Board Jan. 19 by Kevin Stouffer from Smith Elliott Kearns and Co., showed the school district had "a very healthy cash balance." Stouffer explained results of the study in the firm's unqualified opinion, which revealed no instances of non-compliance material on the financial statements.

He addressed board members Eric Holtzman, Tracy Baer, Mike Still, William Thorne, Joel Fridgen, Melinda Cordell, Mike Shindle and Ken Haines. Brian Hissong was absent. Stouffer said the food service was close to break even, while many other clients had to subsidize from their general funds.

He had a few recommendations for the IT department - to enact its drafted Disaster Recovery Plan for the technology infrastructure, to find an appropriate intrusion detection system to protect the school's network, and to tighten the password policy. The general fund balance dropped $441,000 to $4.8 million, a slide of 8.4 percent.

The report said, "The original budget includes a conservative spending plan in preparation for funding future budgets." It concluded that G-ASD had been committed to financial excellence for years, which would be needed to meet any upcoming challenges.  

Superintendent Dr. C. Gregory Hoover shared a profile of the school district, based on Pennsylvania Department of Education data from two years ago. Greencastle spent $10,468 per pupil, the 10th lowest in the state. The average was $14,000. If spending rose to that level, it would equal another 64.4 mills to the real estate tax levy. Because G-A was the 181st "richest" district out of the 500, it did not receive the same percent of state and federal funding as other school systems. Therefore, 64 percent of the budget was covered by local taxes.

G-ASD ranked third in the number of students per professional staff, at 16 to 1, meaning nearly all districts had more employees proportionally. It was 117th in administration, at 277 students for every one administrator. Hoover summed up the statistics. Greencastle was above the state average in wealth, size and test scores, but below the average for state aid.

In other business, Katie Miller was hired as an elementary long-term substitute teacher through the remainder of the school year.