Roslyn schools’ financial audit reveals good health

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Roslyn schools’ financial audit reveals good health
Roslyn High School. During a school board meeting on Thursday, an independent audit presentation attributed the Roslyn School District's good financial health to continuing leadership, staying under the tax cap and adherence to funding reserves. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

An independent audit presentation credited the Roslyn School District’s good financial health to continued leadership, staying under the tax cap and dedication to funding reserves during a school board meeting on Thursday.

The board appointed PKF O’Connor Davies as the external auditor for the 2021-22 fiscal year last April. Chris Kopf, a partner at PKF O’Connor Davies, delivered the findings on Thursday night.

“The district is in very good shape,” he said. “You can see that you’ve never gone over the tax cap since it was implemented. Your commitment to fund reserves is great.”

The property tax cap places a limit on the yearly rise of property taxes collected by local governments and school districts to 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is smaller. (A tax levy cannot exceed the cap unless 60% of voters for school districts.)

The district had a minor positive variance of .18% on their revenue expectation of $114 million. The variance in expenditures was $520,067, which Kopf noted was not unusual and was common among school systems because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You had to make sure you could really provide the services to the students [remote or in-person],” he said. “So to do that, you had to make sure you funded the budget. Luckily, you didn’t need all of it.”

Kopf said that the district’s sound financial standing will cause better cash flow, the ability to cover unanticipated expenditures and the capability to face future challenges. He noted the board has done an excellent job allocating resources and succeeded in both finances and education, which will benefit taxpayers.

“Instead of utilizing fund balance, you added to your surplus,” said Kopf. “You added the ability to, in the future, address budget concerns.”

Superintendent Allison Brown also acknowledged School Board Recognition Week before the presentation. The week, which runs from Oct. 17-21 this year, honors school board members and their dedication.

“The members of the Roslyn board of education devote countless hours to making sure our schools help every child learn at a high level,” said Brown. “Throughout the year, they make tough decisions on educational and financial issues. Their fundamental work is to create a shared vision for the education of our community.”

Almost two-thirds of board members devote six or more hours per week to board activities, according to the New York State School Boards Association.

Brown read the expressions of gratitude from those who could not attend. However, Craig Johanson, the principal of Roslyn Middle School, attended to thank the board.

“This is not just a job or position in the business of education for all of us,” he said. “This is a calling and a passion: to be an excellent role model, caregiver or teacher. We appreciate all of you more than you know. You have encouraged us to be dreamers, risk-takers, free thinkers. You have listened, supported, protected and facilitated our growth.”

Board members also received copies of “Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing” in addition to the compliments. President Meryl Waxman Ben-Levy specifically thanked each board member, district employee, auditor and even the press for working together and helping to make the district what it is now.

“We are a very small microcosm,” she said. “But if any of the other powers that be could take one small page from our book and just treat one another with respect the way we do, I would guess that we wouldn’t have the problems that we see on the nightly news.”

In other business, the board unanimously voted on merging multiple sports teams with other districts for the 2022-23 winter season. These teams include Roslyn and East Williston boys’ and girls’ fencing teams and Roslyn and Port Washington boys’ swimming team.

 

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