The Dunkirk City School Board of Education received a clean audit and a warning about a tough budget season ahead at its meeting Thursday.
The board heard a presentation on the audit results from Tom Malecki of Drescher & Malecki LLP. Malecki explained the district's revenues have been higher than the expenditures for the past several years, that the district has a stable fund balance, both appropriated in reserves and unappropriated under the 4 percent state requirement.
"The best thing that I heard during the audit report is that it is all highlights and that's good to hear," Board President and audit committee member Kenneth Kozlowski said.
However, Malecki ended with a warning about the budget climate for next year.
"Health care continues to increase at a rate above inflation at about 8 to 10 percent, the employee retirement system (ERS) is projected to increase at about 10 to 12 percent over the next year but the teacher retirement system (TRS) is going to have a big jump probably in the 30 to 40 percent range ... and these are mandated charges. So while we are in a good position now, we have to be on the look out for these economic conditions," he said.
The board approved the annual compliance audit unanimously with board member Amy Ahlstrom absent.
After the meeting Cerne said he is pleased with the audit report and thanked Business Administrator William Thiel for his hard work.
"In the six years we have been doing this this is the best audit we've ever had. The firm Drescher & Malecki has been very complimentary of what we're doing. And the good news is our fund balance is solid and we are in a good financial state as a district. So, we are very, very pleased with the audit report," Cerne said.
He said the district is aware of the increases in expenses and will start planning early to make the budget work.
"We're about to get into budget development, Mr. Thiel and I have already made some guesses on where we need to be and as you know we have some pretty healthy reserves. It is going to be a difficult budget time because TRS rates are going up ERS rates are going up, health insurance is going up so a lot of the stuff you hear us say every year you will hear us say again. All these things that are outside our control are increasing at a rapid pace and we are going to have to find a way to make ends meet," he explained.
He added the district does not expect additional state aid and will start planning for the budget after the winter break.
The board ended the meeting with an executive session to discuss contractual matters. It will meet again Dec. 13.
In other business:
The board approved the collection of unpaid taxes in the amount of $512,955 from the city of Dunkirk, $118,840 from the town of Dunkirk and $82,699 from the town of Sheridan. Thiel said these numbers are about normal for the district.
The board approved increases in salaries for pool employees.
The board appointed William Osinski as the girls' modified basketball coach and the boys' modified basketball assistant coach as well as Michelle Poweski as the girls' modified basketball assistant coach, Bryan Westling as the boys' varsity swim coach, Jack O'Brien as the unpaid boys' jayvee and varsity basketball coach and Alisha White as the unpaid girls' basketball coach.
The board sent condolences to the family of Catherine Wojcinski, who served the district as a teachers aide.