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Finance Report: Mostly Positive Outlook for MASD

But auditor’s examination highlights problems in business office

By Adam Reinherz
The Tube City Almanac
March 08, 2024
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Auditor Peter Vancheri delivers his report on the McKeesport Area School District’s finances during a Thursday agenda meeting. (Adam Reinherz photo for Tube City Almanac)

An independent auditor’s report during Thursday’s open agenda meeting provided a source of optimism for the McKeesport Area School District.

For nearly 15 minutes, Peter Vancheri, of Hosack, Specht, Muetzel & Wood LLP, a certified public accounting firm, updated listeners on district finances ending June 30, 2023.

The district’s fund balance is broken into two categories: assigned and unassigned, he said: whereas the former is $7 million, the latter is $9.5 million.

“The unassigned balance is about 11.9 percent of your total budget and expenditures for the year. The assigned has been assigned for future capital purposes and future expenditures provided shortfalls in future budget years,” he said.

Of note, Vancheri continued, is that the change in fund balance for the year was $9.5 million.

The reason why revenue came in over budget by $7.7 million is because of a “few larger items,” including contributions from Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation, increased collection of delinquent real estate taxes and the Level Up Supplement — a statewide program to accelerate funding in historically underfunded districts, the accountant said.  

Expenditures came in under budget by $1.47 million.

Despite a generally positive report, concerns were raised about the district’s previous financial management.

“Revenues weren't properly stated, balance sheet items weren't properly stated because reconciliations weren't being performed on a monthly basis back and reconciled to the correct amounts,” Vancheri said.

“I just want to make sure that the public is aware these are not necessarily because of our current business office functions,” Solicitor Gary Matta said. “These were done previous to a change in the business office.”

“There was a lot of transition within our business office,” Superintendent Tia Wanzo said. “We've had a lot of changes within payroll and our tax office. I think Peter realizes that we had some things that we needed to correct because we did have a lot of transitions in this office over the past few years.”

Building on Vancheri’s report, board member Dave Seropian asked fellow elected officials to consider moving $2 million dollars from the assigned fund balance into a capital reserve fund.

Capital needs include, “the parking lot, stadium lighting, sound system and lighting at the auditorium,” Seropian said. “With your permission we'd like to put that on next week's agenda.”

Included on next week’s agenda is also a recommendation to hire James Public Relations LLC at a yearly cost of $60,000.

Ever since a public relations position was eliminated years ago, individuals have filled in by managing Facebook or the website, Wanzo said: “We feel that it's time to have one person do all of that in order to obviously celebrate things that are going well in our district.”

Originally published March 08, 2024.

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