Auditor: N-O-W’s finances are good, but state cuts are coming

By SARAH PARKER | County Line Reporter

An audit revealed that the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District’s financial state was sound, though the school’s accountant told the board of education Monday that state-funding shortfalls were looming.

Melanie Lendosky, of Johnson Block & Company (formerly Vig & Associates), the Viroqua firm that conducted the annual audit, said that the district’s fund balance of $2,312,433 was sufficient.

The fund balance, a figure that reflects assets minus liabilities, would provide the district with three months’ worth of operating expenses, she said.

And, due to projected cuts in state funding for public schools, the district likely would have make use of that reserve at some point, Lendosky added.

“You may have to sooner rather than later, unfortunately,” she said.

OTHER BUSINESS

• The district will seek the state Department of Public Instruction’s permission to offer a 178-day school year, rather than the mandated 180 days, every year for four years.

Superintendent Kelly Burhop noted that the DPI also specified the total instructional hours of a school year, and the N-O-W School District would exceed that requirement even if the two days were cut.

Those two extra days would help staff prepare for new Common Core State Standards, an effort to create equivalent academic standards in all U.S. states. In Wisconsin, schools must be compliant by 2014-15.

States have adopted the standards voluntarily.

• Signs for the new and recently renovated areas of school buildings would be about $5,000, significantly lower than the $7,000 expenditure the board had previously approved, Burhop said.

• The school district is on target for its 83,000-gallon liquid-propane allotment, but the amount should be upped next year, Burhop said, noting that this year’s winter had been mild thus far.

If temperatures turn severely cold, the school district could go through about 9,000 gallons of propane in 18 days, he said.

• Asbestos had been removed from the old farmhouse on the school district grounds, Burhop said. Additionally, he had received a $10,000 estimate to demolish the building.

• Middle Tennessee State University student dancers will perform at 7 p.m. Monday, March 5, at Brookwood, plus they will work with students throughout that day.

Admission will be $5 apiece for adults and $3 apiece for students.

Kim Neal Nofsinger, a Brookwood High School alumnus, is the artistic director of MTSU Dance Theater.

The Brookwood High School Food Service II class will start running its school restaurant starting Monday, March 19, according to Principal Brad Pettit.

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