BoE Receives Audit, Health and Wellness Report

The Pawling Central School District (PCSD) Board of Education convened on Monday, November 5, for a Business Meeting at Pawling Elementary School. The evening’s agenda included a district audit report, a Health and Wellness Committee report, and an update on the Safe Routes To School project.

The audit report was presented by Alec Sobin of Raymond G. Preusser, CPA, PC. “An important part of what we do is a review of your business procedures, your internal controls, and the testing of transactions,” explained Sobin. “We had no issues in any area.” The audit found that the district’s finances were well managed, especially with regard to the General Fund and Reserve Fund balances, and Sobin praised the Board for preparing yet another budget showing an overall decrease. “It’s very commendable that you’ve done that for two years in a row, subsequently lowering taxes,” he added.

In other business, the Board received a Health and Wellness Committee Report from Pawling Middle School Assistant Principal Michelle Rivas. The committee, explained Rivas, performs a triennial examination of the district’s compliance with the federal Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. “The district has made progress on the 2015 triennial assessment recommendations,” Rivas said.

The intention to provide healthier meal choices for Pawling students has spanned across all schools in the district. A collaboration among the food services department, nurses, physical education instructors, PTA/PTSA members, and Health and Wellness Committee members has led to a number of dietary improvements. In the high school and middle school, students now have access to salad bars with locally sourced produce, when available, as well as an array of healthy options such as kale chips, roasted Brussels sprouts, spinach salads, fresh fruits, and granola bars. “The students are getting used to trying new things,” said Rivas. Even younger students at Pawling Elementary are showing positive reactions to fresh fruit trays, and special treats such as a “top your own” yogurt bar have proved to be very popular. One-percent Hudson Valley fresh milk is also available district wide.

Rivas concluded her presentation by outlining the work of the Safe Routes To School (SRTS) Committee. The SRTS project aims to provide all students with safe passageways to all schools. In 2017, the SRTS Committee and the Village of Pawling applied for a Dutchess County pedestrian sidewalk study. “In order to take SRTS to the next stages, it is being folded into the Pedestrian Task Force under the leadership of Village Trustee John Burweger,” Rivas said. “I would like to also publicly thank Mrs. Erica Smith for leading the SRTS initiative. She has been the project chair since 2012, and it was her persistence and passion for the project that led to the formation of the committee and the subsequent grant of $66,000 that was used to pave the elementary school sidewalk.”

The next PCSD Board of Education Meeting will be held on Monday, November 19, at 7:30 p.m. at Pawling Elementary School, 7 Haight Street.