By Clara Osten,
Information on the school's finances, the cost of property insurance and a Memorandum of Understanding were discussed during a lengthy meeting of the Wayne Community Schools' Board of Education meeting.
Lori Olson with Dana F. Cole & Company spoke to the board via Zoom on the recently completed audit of the school's finances for fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2023.
Olson said much of the information included in her presentation was similar to what was shared with the board last year.
She explained the portions of the audit, which includes both the school and the Wayne Community Schools' Foundation. She also told the board that a single audit of federal funds received by the district has not been finalized and will be completed before the May 2024 deadline.
"There are no material weaknesses or significant difficulties within the district," Olson said.
She did express the need for "segregation of duties" within the business department which would require additional staff to be hired.
Receipts for the district showed that interest earnings and state aid is up from last year's audit. End of year balances are up because of bond money for the building project.
"In preparing this audit, there was excellent cooperation from management and staff. Due to changes in what is being required for the audit of a school district, there are more demands from both the school and our firm. This takes more time from both parties," Olson said.
During the new business portion of the meeting, board members received the 2022-2023 audit and financial statement completed by the audit.
Cap Peterson with Northeast Nebraska Insurance was at Monday's meeting to present information on the district's property, casualty and workers compensation insurance.
Peterson said he works with EMC (the company providing the district's coverage) to "try to get a package that is best for the district."
He shared information on the cost of coverage with both a $25,000 deductible per occurrence and a $50,000 deductible per occurrence.
He explained that the two biggest costs in the premium were property insurance and workers compensation. He said the valuation of the district's property has increased significantly. However, the Experience Mod which determines the cost of workers compensation was lower this year due to fewer claims in the three-year time frame used for this portion of the policy.
Later in the meeting, the board voted to accept the property and casualty quote with the $25,000 deductible. The total cost for the coming 12 months will be $130,160.00.
Also making a presentation at the meeting was Kirby Hall from State Nebraska Bank who shared in regard to the Single Bank Pooled Collateral Program.
The program has been offered through the Nebraska Bankers Association. It involves pledging securities for the money invested with the institution.
"Being part of the pool does not change anything with the deposit. It would simplify things for both the school and the bank. It also offers another layer of security," Hall said.
The board also approved the school joining the program.
In old business, the board received information from Superintendent Dr. Mark Lenihan on possible uses for the Wayne Community Activity Center (CAC) prior to approval of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the city of Wayne.
Dr. Lenihan talked about classes being offered in the building during the school day, after school activities and during the summer.
Board members questioned how the district would pay for the building and were told that the purchase price (which has not yet been determined) would be paid with funds from the school's Building Fund and is not part of the recently passed bond. The possible sale of the CAC came up after the passage of the bond and is due to the fact that the city had the opportunity to purchase the FNBO Building on East 10th Street.
Dr. Lenihan and several board members stressed that an MOU "is not a legally binding agreement. It allows us to continue to negotiate and keep the conversation going."
Wayne City Administrator Wes Blecke spoke to the board and answered several questions. He told them that this would be a long process as there is a lease on the building that runs through early 2026.
"This (the sale of the CAC) has to make sense for both parties," Blecke said.
Payment Application No. 2 in the amount of $372,494.70 to Hausmann Construction was approved.
Dr. Lenihan said school staff is meeting with the firm on a bi-weekly basis and talked about work completed and what is anticipated in coming weeks.
Also approved at the meeting was the cost for a new chiller unit for the existing Junior/Senior High School and fire alarm upgrades in the existing high school.
This work will be completed by Hausmann Construction, but is not part of the building project financed by the bond.
It was noted that because the construction firm is already at the school the cost for these projects will be considerably less expensive.
Funds have already been set aside for the work.
Board members approved on first reading and waived the second reading of an AIM document amendment for nine-month full-time classified staff to allow four staff members to move from 30 hours of work per week to 40 hours.
Among the reasons for the additional hours is to allow the district to offer benefits to these employees and address concerns with turn-over rates for paraprofessionals.
First reading of an AIM document was approved to create a Human Resources Director position. At the present time, this work is part of the Business Manager's responsibilities. The division of duties was among the items listed in the school's annual audit.
Additional discussion will be held at a future meeting.
The Wayne Community Schools' Board of Education will next meet in regular session on Monday, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. in the junior-senior high school library.