A Letter from Dr. Lexmond
Dear Shorewood Families,
The recent press coverage about the incomplete fundraising for our athletic fields put the past business operations of the District in the spotlight. However, I feel strongly that moments like this are also opportunities for growth and opportunities to move forward in the right direction.
What I know from my review of the budget is:
- The revenue and expenditures related to the athletic field construction are accounted for.
- There are no remaining bills that need to be paid.
- The gap in fundraising due to the economic downturn and donor fatigue has been known by the district and Board for several years.
- The difference in 2014 is that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will no longer allow school districts to show a negative balance on construction projects that have been completed and are waiting for additional fundraising to cover expenses.
- No student programming will be impacted as a result of the DPI requirement.
Moving forward from moments like this offers opportunities for us to improve our business operations and construction project management.
To achieve this, I am working closely with the Finance & Facilities Committee of the Board to implement a five-step strategy to move us forward. This is about the future and what we can accomplish together with the right people, systems, and practices in place.
The five steps that will support our effort are as follows:
- Conduct an independent audit, and receive recommendations for improvement on all business and HR processes, practices, and procedures. We will use these recommendations to build a plan to implement them over the next 14 months.
- Bring on board an experienced, full-time business manager to lead this effort and to implement our improvement plans. The Board recently approved Pat Miller as our new business manager. He has started transition meetings, and will join us full-time on July 1, 2014.
- Continue current efforts to automate business office and HR tasks and functions to improve efficiency and accuracy.
- Use our new five-year PMA (our financial planning advisors) budget-planning tool to project enrollment, revenue, and expenditures to conduct long range budget planning and sound fiscal practices.
- Enlist the aid of the Board’s Finance & Facilities Committee to provide oversight of these efforts, and to hold us accountable for the improved outcomes.
During their May 13, 2014 regular School Board meeting Board members unanimously approved the independent process audit, and bringing in additional support to work on our balance sheets. The work to move us forward has begun.
This community raised over $3.3 million for the amazing infrastructure we all now share. Previous school boards also took action to commit the use of public funds in support of the athletic field project. There was—and still is—a commitment by the District to support the initial construction of the athletic fields and to complete the original scope of the project.
With the strategies noted above, a new business manager and an active Finance & Facilities Committee, I am confident that we will move in the right direction and demonstrate that our business practices are at the same high level of quality as our educational offerings. I will continue to share updates about the work of our Finance & Facilities Committee and our progress toward improved business practices with you, and with the entire Shorewood community, throughout the coming months.
Dr. Marty Lexmond, Shorewood Superintendent
Sunday May, 18, 2014 at 11:00PM
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