SD2 budget committee reviews district's financial status

2011-01-10T20:15:00Z 2011-01-10T23:51:39Z SD2 budget committee reviews district's financial status

By ROB ROGERS

Of The Gazette Staff

The Billings Gazette
January 10, 2011 8:15 pm  • 

Billings School District 2 budget committee members approved minor corrections to the district's financial statements on Monday night and discussed how best to chip away at its multimillion-dollar list of deferred maintenance projects.

Through the course of its annual audit, the district learned that it had a few areas where it wasn't compliant with federal law.

“Most of them have one thing in common: ARRA,” said Thomas Harper, the district's finance director, referring to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The district is required to officially notify contractors working on ARRA-funded SD2 projects that they are being paid with federal money. The district must also verify that the contractors that it uses are approved by the federal government to work on federal contracts.

Harper said that, in these cases, the ARRA money had come to the district so fast that the guidance on how to use the funds came later.

The audit also faulted the district for not monitoring closer the trust funds of extracurricular activity groups at the elementary school level. The district had focused most of its attention on the high school groups.

Moving forward, Harper said the district will now collect monthly reports from the elementary school groups raising and spending money.

Committee member Paige Darden asked about when it would be appropriate for the district to go after a building reserve levy. Building reserve levies fund school districts to upkeep facilities and start new building projects.

Voters in May approved two federal bonds worth $12 million to update several buildings in the district. After the $12 million, the district still has roughly $110 million in deferred maintenance projects.

However, the district currently has no building reserve levy.

“I think we always have a compelling case,” said committee member Bruce MacIntyre.

The board will continue to discuss its options as the federal bond projects are completed.

Contact Rob Rogers at rrogers@billingsgazette.com or 657-1231.

Contact Rob Rogers at rrogers@billingsgazette.com or 657-1231.

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