New Castle News

February 5, 2013

New Castle Schools: District gets good news on audit

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The New Castle Area School District was financially sound for the 2011-12 school year, local auditors have reported.

But looking into the future, they noted, rising costs of health care, retirement and wages could strain the district’s reserves.

The school board unanimously approved the audit report by Robert A. Izzo and John Ruehle, certified public accountants from Philip Weiner and Co.

“It’s a good audit,” Izzo said, “and there were no findings. Overall it was a very good report in terms of their financial status as of June 30, 2012.”

He added the audit is a historical document that already is 6 months old.

Financial highlights as provided by district business manager Joe Ambrosini show the district reported a surplus of about $1.8 million for the 2011-12 year.

The district’s fund balance was $11,836,201 and its capital reserve balance $3,242,998, according to the 2011-12 annual financial report.

Factors contributing to the surplus include:

•Basic education funding increase in June, 2012, of $435,538.

•Refinancing of 2006 bond issue, saving about $500,000.

•Local wage and property tax revenue, about $600,000 because of increased collections.

•State’s share of Social Security and retirement increase by about $450,000 because of an increase in the market value aid ratio.

•The district’s receiving about $120,000 from federal stimulus health care reimbusement in the early retirement reinsurance program.

•Tuition the district paid to the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center amounting to about $450,000 less than budgeted. The district had planned for 138 students attending, but 108 were enrolled.

•Establishing the Cray Compass program for special education, which saved the district about $150,000 because of less expensive educational placements.

•Medical insurance projected to be 11 percent was reduced to 9.7 percent, thus reducing the cost by about $370,000.