District receives clean audit for 2017-2018

District receives clean audit for 2017-2018
Posted on 05/20/2019
In a report to the Tahoma School Board Tuesday evening, board members learned that the most recent audit of Tahoma School District’s financial statements and its compliance with federal laws and regulations found no deficiencies or material weaknesses.

Each year, the school district’s finances and federal programs are examined by the Washington State Auditor’s office. The audit reviews the district’s financial procedures to ensure they meet state law and accepted practices. The audit found no areas of concern.

School Board Director Valerie Paganelli participated in the post-audit report with the state auditor. She explained to the board that she has been involved in numerous financial audits during her professional career and noted that her goal was always to have a successful audit.

“One of the things I always focused on was having a 'successful audit.' And successful never necessarily meant it was clean. But successful meant a couple of things: one, that it was cooperative. We got accolades for the cooperative nature of the staff,” Paganelli said, offering praise to Finance Director Lori Cloud and her staff. “That’s really important. Success also means, in my mind, that it’s OK that things are found. What you don’t want to have happen are significant or material deficiencies. While we didn’t have any of those, from a standpoint of what was audited, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t present us with ideas for improvement to consider.”

Audit reports are available here.

Also at its regular meeting on May 14, the School Board:
*Recognized Summit Trail Kitchen Manager Theresa Bergum for her quick action in saving a student from choking. Click here for a related article.

*Received an update about graduation requirements and defining Core 24 for Tahoma. “Our covenant with our community has to be that we will provide every kid that goes through our system with a world-class education,” THS Principal Terry Duty said, presenting the results of an ad hoc committee that met several times to discuss which courses should be defined as core classes for Tahoma students. The committee included 22 volunteers, five of whom were parents; the remainder were a mix of high school administrators, counselors and department heads as well as a middle school representative, a community business representative and a School Board member. The next edition of the high school course catalog will include designation of core courses. For the full report, click here.

*Received an update about STEM and art classes at the elementary level. Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Dawn Wakeley shared with the board that there is a desire among STEM, and art teachers at the elementary level for more consistency (and less of being split between buildings in order to strengthen relationships with students and other staff). After a few teachers expressed an interest in teaching both STEM and art at a single location rather than moving between buildings, it was suggested that the district look at moving toward a more integrated “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, art and math) concept. Wakeley said the district will begin exploring a slightly more integrated model.

*Heard a report about the Hi-Cap (highly capable) program, including the shift from using a nomination process to instead screen all students at Grade 2 and also accept nominations. Staff members will continue to examine and evaluate whether the screening is reducing disproportionality, whether students are making a year’s growth, how well the program is meeting students’ academic and social/emotional needs, and also whether there is sufficient communication with parents and students.

*Approved the purchase, delivery and installation of a new portable classroom building for Tahoma Elementary from Pacific Mobile Structures in the total amount of $280,782.21. Plans call for the installation to occur in August and use to begin in September.

*Approved the installation of a new generator at Glacier Park Elementary School. (The purchase of the emergency generator was approved on April 23). The installation contract with J.R. Electric was approved for $199,244.07.

*Received an update on the budget extension for the 2018-2019 district budget. While it is called an extension, the document is the method that the state provides for school districts to adjust their budgets after the original budget is approved. The School Board will have a public hearing for any interested community members who would like to address them about the budget extension at their next meeting on May 28. The board is scheduled to vote on adoption of the extension at its following meeting on June 11.
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