NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — Man Lee, representing the accounting firm of Nisivoccia, LLP, recently presented the annual West Essex Regional Public Schools audit for the 2018-2019 school year.

During Monday’s board meeting, Lee noted that the State of New Jersey was late in providing some information, so the report cannot be finalized. However, it was confirmed that during the fiscal year of June 30, 2018 to June 30, 2019, the district’s operating fund balance increased from $10 million to $11.7 million due to an increase in state aid and extraordinary aid.

Board Vice President Anthony Prinzo announced that the capital reserve fund has increased by $1.2 million over the past two years, going from $7.1 million to $8.3 million.

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Lee remarked that the district’s finances are as “healthy as the state allows you to be.”

In response to Board President Cynthia Egan’s inquiry about whether the report included any recommendations for the district to address, Lee stated that the West Essex district did not receive any this year.

“Of the 70-80 districts we work with, only a very small percentage of the districts actually have no recommendations,” he said.

Following the presentation, Superintendent of Schools Damion Macioci commended Business Administrator Melissa Kida on the positive audit report. 

“Overseeing and analyzing financial operations for the school district requires fiscal responsibility and a strong understanding of rules and regulations,” he said. “Ms. Kida's role in the school district is a critical one and her efforts assist in achieving the educational goals of the school district.”

In other news, the board voted unanimously to approve the renewal of the health insurance plan for district employees with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the new premium rates that will become effective on Jan. 1, 2020.

Business Administrator Melissa Kida stated that in the 2018-2019 school year, the district budgeted for a rate increase of 12 percent from the previous year when in fact the actual increase had been 18 percent. For the 2019-2020 school year, the budget accounted for an 11 percent increase, but the projected rate increase was 15 percent, she added. 

Ultimately, the district was able to lower that rate through negotiations with the insurance company to an 8.5-percent increase, thereby looking at a projected savings for monies that had been allocated through the budget process.

“We are in a much better place than anticipated,” said Kida.

To learn more about this meeting, where the board voted to retain The Madison Institute (TMI) to assist in the formulation of a five-year strategic plan for the district and shared various other updates, click HERE.