News and Tribune

September 15, 2012


Response issued on Greater Clark finances

Greater Clark County Schools board member Mark Pavey wrote a letter to the editor in the Sept. 8 News and Tribune in response to a “Jeer” I wrote in which I criticized the board for approving a $5,000 independent fiscal analysis of the budget.

Greater Clark recently hired Dr. Tom Dykiel a highly qualified CFO who admitted at the board meeting that he could do this analysis himself.

Mr. Pavey stated that he was “surprised Ms. Butler would not understand the importance of independent third-party fiscal analysis with a background in finance, since they are common, and in many cases required in the world of business.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Pavey along with several other board members who voted in favor of this expense apparently do not understand what a “fiscal analysis of the budget” means. As a graduate of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and having been a certified public accountant, former auditor and CFO for more than 37 years, I can assure Mr. Pavey that I do understand the importance of an independent audit and know that they are common and usually required in the world of business by third parties (generally financial institutions).

 However, an “independent fiscal analysis” of the Greater Clark County Schools budget is quite different than an audit. It is not something that is required or even commonly performed in the business world by outside parties. Budget analysis is done in-house by qualified and competent CFOs. According to Mr. Pavey, the new CFO “is a highly respected and highly qualified CFO who has written several books on Indiana school finance.” Mr. Pavey stated that he is “arguably one of the top talents in the state.”

 It should be noted that an independent audit of Greater Clark was just completed this spring by the Indiana State Board of Accounts with a look at the financial picture from two years ago, as audits are done in retrospect. Clearly with that information in hand and the fact that Greater Clark hired a respected CFO, Dr. Frank Collesano, to finalize the budget and work as a consultant for the past few months, the finances should be solid at this point. If they are not, then our new highly talented and qualified CFO should readily recognize this and with his book-writing background be able to make any necessary adjustments to the budget.

Hiring a retired CFO from another school district to perform this analysis is a total waste of Greater Clark’s dollars along the lines of the board taking trips to Boston and Indianapolis for meetings when an election is coming up and the district has severe financial issues as publicly stated. Also, the board recently added $1 million in debt to an already tight debt service schedule. This should not have been done until this “analysis” was complete.

 Therefore, since Greater Clark has presumably hired one of the top talents in the state and is paying him more than previous CFOs, I stand firm in my belief that Dr. Dykiel should be quite competent to do this fiscal analysis himself and the hiring of the outside consultant is indeed a waste of our very limited dollars.

— Alice Dorman Butler, Jeffersonville

Editor’s note: Butler is a candidate for the Greater Clark District 6 seat in the November election.

Retired PE teacher disagrees with pool usage

Two years ago, after spending a great deal of taxpayers’ money to renovate the swimming pools at Hazelwood and Scribner Middle Schools, the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. Board decided to close the two pools for financial reasons.

Since New Albany High School does not include swimming in its physical educational program (although its pool is in operation), students that graduate from New Albany High School receive no swimming instructions in their 13 years of education.

Mean while, Highland Hills Middle School’s pool remains open, and these students receive classes in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade. Is this fair to the students that attend Hazelwood, Scribner or New Albany High School?

Let’s open and use the pools at Hazelwood and Scribner Middle Schools so these students can enjoy the many benefits that come from swimming to. We  just want equal opportunity in our school systems.

I will address this injustice at the next school board meeting. Hazelwood and Scribner’s parents, students and all other concerned residents are urges to attend and support the students on Monday, Sept.. 17, at 6 p.m., at the A.S.C., 2813 Grant Line Road, New Albany.

— Sonny Wright, retired physical education teacher, NA-FC school