BENNINGTON — The Bennington School Board met on Wednesday and received their annual audit report, which found no irregularities.
Ronald Smith, founder of RHR Smith and Company, the firm that performed the audits of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union this year for the first time, gave the report. For at least the last two years, the audit had been performed by certified public accountant Alan Walther of the Bonadio Group. The SVSU is mandated by the state to have an audit performed at the end of each of their financial years. The financial year being looked at in this audit ended in June of this year.
"You got the best opinion of them all from us," said Smith, "It's the highest opinion that we can give you, and that's the fact that your books were clean and that your management understood exactly what they were doing and that they were more than cooperative during this whole audit process. Smith also said the district, as of the end of FY15, had $539,000 that was not yet tied down to any project. Typically, the board will vote to use surplus funds to provide tax relief on the future years' budgets, in this case the FY17 budget that will be voted on in March.
At an earlier meeting of the SVSU board, members had discussed not renewing the Bonadio Group's contract, not because of any problems with the organization, but based on the idea that different eyes auditing their finances couldn't hurt. Smith founded his company in 1997, and has been the sole shareholder since 2001. The Maine-based company is certified to operate in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, and has a staff of 17. You can learn more about them on their website, www.rhrsmith.com.
Board chairman Ken Swierad said that he had received queries from the public regarding which spots on the board will be open at elections this March, and who would be running for those seats. Swierad said that Jackie Kelly and Jackie Prue will be up for re-election. Kelly said that she would be running, while Prue said she was currently undecided.
Principal Donna Cauley of Monument Elementary School gave an update on some of the happenings at her school. Prior to Thanksgiving break, Monument students and staff organized a "Fowl Shot" program collect nonperishable food items for the Kitchen Cupboard food pantry in Bennington. "It was successful event for families and staff that everyone is encouraging us to make it an annual event," she said, "We look forward to doing that." She said the school's fall afterschool program had just concluded, having served 106 students across 12 different program options. The school is currently accepting registration for winter programming.
The Bennington School Board meets the first Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the either music room at Bennington Elementary, the auditorium at Monument Elementary, or the library of the Molly Stark School, depending on the month. Full recordings of their meetings are available on Catamount Access Television, and on the station's YouTube page.