BOE Receives 2017 Audit Report, Approves French Language Field Trip to Quebec

The Pawling Central School District (PCSD) Board of Education met for their second monthly meeting on Monday, November 20, at Pawling Elementary School. Main agenda items included an audit report on the District’s finances, as well as administrative presentations by the principals of the High School and Elementary School. The Board also approved plans for an international, educational trip to Quebec, Canada, for early 2018.

Dr. Neysa Sensenig, PCSD’s Assistant Superintendent for Finance, and Alec Sobin of Raymond G. Preusser, CPA, PC, presented the 2017 District audit report. Each year, the District submits to an external audit to monitor expenditures and budgeting. Mr. Sobin was pleased to report that the audit for 2017 was exemplary and showed no examples of over-budgeting. The District used 97% of its budget for the year, representing a higher percentage of fund usage than many other area school districts. In particular, Mr. Sobin praised the work of Dr. Sensenig for her efforts to maintain internal controls to keep the District fiscally sound, as well as the attention to detail that accompanies such fiscal achievements.

Financially, the District is very secure with a general fund balance of $11,141,110 and a highly favorable asset to liability ratio of 5.8 to 1. Mr. Sobin also lauded the creation of the capital reserve fund, which will limit borrowing and tax increases for any future projects. The Board was pleased with the results of the audit, which detailed a reduction of both the District’s budget and taxes and at the same time additional new programs and provisions for upgrades to infrastructure District-wide. Mr. Sobin’s audit included no recommendations for further action to be taken.

In other business, Pawling Elementary School Principal Dr. Debra Kirkhus updated the Board on the school’s lockdown drill performed on November 14. In conjunction with the Elementary School resource officer, staff members have been educating students on proper safety procedures. Information is presented to students to emphasize the importance and serious nature of the drill while being non-threatening and child friendly. A second lockdown drill will be conducted before the end of the year and will vary the time and circumstance of the exercise. Dr. Kirkhus also informed the Board of the recent success of the PTA’s Mobile Planetarium on November 17, as well as the Elementary School’s second annual pep rally which was held on October 20. Dr. Kirkhus also explained that the school nurse provided allergy awareness training to staff members at the November faculty meeting, including training in the use of EPI (epinephrine) pens.

Pawling High School Principal Helen Callan updated the Board on a series of ongoing programs:

  • Students from Drawing and Painting 1 and 2 were sent to the Appalachian Trail Boardwalk in Pawling on October 10 to create artwork inspired by the trail that will be part of the Friends of the Great Swamp (FROGs) art exhibit and auction next fall.

  • On October 17, students from the “Trash to Treasure” sculpture, creative crafts, and environmental sciences class took part in the second Great Swamp Cleanup. This effort includes trash removal and beautification, with some materials being set aside for art projects.

  • Members of the French and Spanish Honor Society participated in the Alzheimer’s Society “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” fundraiser, which included more than 500 participants and raised more than $75,000 for research.

Mrs. Callan concluded her remarks with an announcement that the High School recently inducted 21 new members to the National Honor Society, and 13 new members to the Science Honor Society.

The Board ended the session by approving a field trip request for High School French students to travel to Quebec City. The trip is scheduled to take place in 2018 from February 1 to February 4 and will include 36 students from grades 9 through 12. Students will have the opportunity to practice their language skills and immerse themselves in Quebecois culture during province’s renowned Winter Carnival.