Future school budgets will take into account concerns raised by the operational audit, School Committee Chairman Alexa McCloughan said in the committee’s latest response as part of the audit follow-up.
“We agree that explaining our revenues and expenditures in a clear way and continuing to search for efficiencies within our District will help garner public support for our upcoming budget,” McCloughan said in 2-1/2-page letter to the Operational Audit Committee dated July 25. The letter was made public on Tuesday.
Last year, . The audit came after a citizens petition seeking the audit garnered support from Town Meeting voters in both towns. It cost $90,000 to complete.
McCloughan’s memo was in response to a July 14 letter from the Operational Audit Committee that sought specific responses as part of the audit follow-up.
The response “fairly well addresses” the committee’s requests, according to Molly Martins, chairman of the Wenham Board of Selectmen who sits on the operational audit committee.
Earlier this year, and gave each one a priority. At that time, the School Committee also agreed to update the Boards of Selectmen from both towns and the public about its progress in addressing the audit recommendations.
“This remains our go-forward plan, and the Boards of Selectmen and our community can expect an update as to our progress in September,” McCloughan wrote.
McCloughan also said that the audit recommendations to examine the per-student special education costs and the student-to-teacher ratio at the high school are “the two key priorities.”
The School Committee is disappointed that Evergreen did not provide any specific recommendations to reduce cost while maintaining existing education standards.
“Like you, we agree that taking advantage of cost saving opportunities must be given full consideration in this year’s budget process,” McCloughan’s letter stated.
The new interim principal at for the coming year – – will be able to help with that examination, according to McCloughan.
Hughes will be able to provide “valuable insight and understanding to our analysis,” according to the School Committee’s response.
A “project plan” for both the high school student-to-teacher ratio and special education costs will be in place by Sept. 30, McCloughan’s letter said.
The same date was cited as a deadline for the School Committee to meet with The Operational Audit Committee to further discuss it’s follow-up plan for the audit.
With the most recent response from the School Committee, Martins said on Tuesday that the general consensus of the Operational Audit Committee is that its work is complete.
The initial letter from the Operational Audit Committee and the response from the School Commmittee are both attached to this story as a PDF.