Auditors give Roslyn school district high marks

The Island Now
Auditor Jill Sanders presents her report to the Roslyn Board of Education as schools Superintendent Allison Brown and Board President Meryl Waxman Ben-Levy, far left and right, listen. (Photo by Samuel Glasser)

By Samuel Glasser

The Roslyn school district has good financial procedures in place and is on sound financial footing, the district’s auditor told the Board of Education last Thursday.

“The district has tight internal controls,” Jill Sanders, a partner in the accounting firm Cullen & Danowski, said. “There are no significant deficiencies and no potential for material misstatements on the financial report.”

Sanders said that property tax revenue – approximately $90 million for the fiscal year that ended on June 30 – made up the overwhelming amount of the district’s $106 million budget, with only $5 million coming from state aid. Spending is in compliance with the tax cap, she said.

She also noted that the district issued $28.4 million in bonds for capital improvement projects, even though voters authorized $37.3 million in May 2014. The district’s “favorable credit rating” allowed it to borrow at a relatively low 2.0 to 2.375 percent, she said.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Joseph Dragone said in an interview that the district had identified $41.3 million in work, but wrote the bond resolution to allow it to use surplus funds from the budget to help pay for the capital improvements.

Over the last few years the district has been able to tap $13 million in surplus funds, reducing its need to borrow by that amount when it issued the bonds in September 2016 and March 2017, Dragone said.

State aid only covers 10 percent of the capital costs, he noted.

Of the projects, Dragone said that work at the East Hills School and Roslyn Middle School has been completed, work is finishing at Harbor Hills School and Roslyn High School and is starting at the Heights School.

In other business, the board recognized three National Merit Finalists, seniors Stephanie Tom, Adam Robbins and Ella Eisenberg.

The board said that they are among 16,000 nationwide to be named semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors.

Approximately 1.5 million students entered the 2018 National Merit Program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

They have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,400 Merit Scholarships that will be awarded in the spring.

The board also honored senior Marilyn Pesantez as qualifying for the National Hispanic Recognition Award, and 11 students who were named as National Merit Commended Scholars.

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