Audit shows Baldwin-Whitehall schools on 'solid' financial footing
An independent audit of Baldwin-Whitehall School District finances for the 2017-18 school year determined the district is adequately prepared to keep pace with statewide rises in employment and operational costs.
The routine audit — results of which were shared during a Nov. 7 school board meeting — also found the district’s financial statements and disclosures to be in good keeping with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
Cottrill, Arbutina and Associates conducted the audit. Chad Agnew, a representative of the firm, told board members the district’s general fund balance of $8.5 million as of June 30 put them in a “healthy position.”
“Payroll and retirement and benefits and everything associated with that, those costs continue to increase,” Agnew said. “Your fund balance is in a position right now that you will be able to handle those items as they come forth here in the coming years.”
The audit did recommend the district prepare a written recovery plan should data ever be lost to fire or other natural disaster. The firm also recommended the district further segregate the responsibilities of business staff members, a recommendation Agnew said is commonly made to government entities but is difficult to implement without hiring additional staff.
Changes to the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System, auditors said, also would likely benefit the district, though not for some time. The state in July of 2019 will offer new teachers a choice of two “hybrid” plans that Agnew said combine defined contribution and defined benefit plans, and a third choice of a solely defined contribution plan.
The new system, Agnew said, hopefully will alleviate pressure on districts brought about by the old underfunded guaranteed benefit plan.
“Years down the road, you will see a benefit of that,” Agnew said.
Matthew Guerry is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.