Windham Southeast School District
Finance Committee Meeting – Tuesday April 27, 2021
5:00pm via Zoom Meeting
Members: Shaun Murphy – Chairperson, Michelle Luetjen Green, Jaci Reynolds, David Schoales
Board Recorder: Wendy Levy
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Meeting ID: 848 1662 3014
1. Approval of Minutes
2. Academy School Addition project
a. Construction Bidder Prequalification criteria and Advertisement
b. Interested Construction Bidder interview schedule
c. Proposed motion for Board consideration
3. Dummerston Biofuel boiler project update
4. Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund (ESSER) grant application update
5. Recommendation to Board to Approve Warrants and Payrolls
Cc.SM, BN 4.19.21
Note: These proposed minutes should be considered preliminary until they are approved by the
board at a future meeting.
WINDHAM SOUTHEAST SCHOOL DISTRICT (WSESD) FINANCE COMMITTEE
THURSDAY, MARCH 25, 2021
REGULAR MEETING – 5PM
WSESD Finance Committee Members Present: Shaun Murphy (SM); Jaci Reynolds (JR)
WSESD Finance Committee Members Absent: David Schoales
WSESU Administrators Present: Frank Rucker (Finance Director)
Media Present: none
Others Present: Wendy M. Levy (Board Recorder)
CALL TO ORDER: Chair SM called the meeting to order at 5:04pm.
SM announced the Finance Committee will review draft meeting minutes at the next Finance Committee meeting.
I. ACADEMY SCHOOL ADDITION PROJECT
b. draft warning
Finance Director Frank Rucker reviewed the draft warning for the WSESD meeting for the vote on financing the project.
The location for the Brattleboro vote is to be determined; Barb Nowakowski is researching this.
The anticipated date of the vote is May 11, and the warning contains one article.
The Board will review this at their April 6 regular meeting.
Frank explained the ballot system for this vote and why WSESD is using it: it is simplified, which makes it easier to conduct during COVID.
a. financing method
Frank gave an update on his conversations with local banks regarding financing.
Frank reviewed a document detailing the estimated debt service schedule for borrowing $1.5million from a bank on a five-year amortization schedule. The interest rate is 1.9-percent.
Frank announced he has applied for CARES Act grant funding to help pay for this project, and he hopes to get a response before the May 11 vote.
Frank noted the debt service for this project will not change the tax rate. SM said this is important for the voters to know.
c. project timeline
Frank reviewed the timeline and noted the Board has already thoroughly reviewed the timeline in previous meetings. He pointed out there are no major changes to this timeline since its review except one possible change: the third schematic design workshop may not be necessary.
A discussion ensued on a performance bond for contractors. JR recommended the Finance Committee conduct the interviews for contractors. SM agreed. JR said she will make that motion at a Board meeting.
d. AOE Preliminary Approval for construction per SBE rule 6000 series
Frank explained some of the history of getting Agency of Education approval, and he reviewed the process for doing so.
Frank announced he had applied for a grant from the Windham Wood Heat Association. He has worked with them before, and received grants for pellet boilers in District buildings.
When the new grant cycle was announced, Frank applied for, and received, $40,000 in grant funding to pay for an upgrade to the Dummerston School’s heating system. Frank anticipates getting additional funding for this project from other sources. He said it will be on a Board agenda soon.
Frank noted this upgrade is to replace the Dummerston School’s oil burner, which follows the capital plan, and will reduce costs.
II. USE OF RESERVES AND FUND BALANCES FOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
Frank reviewed the capital plan document to illustrate how the use of reserves and fund balances for capital improvements fits into the capital plan.
A discussion ensued on the need to borrow versus the use of reserves and fund balances for the Academy project.
III. FY21 FISCAL YEAR TO DATE STATEMENT
Frank reviewed the WSESD General Ledger – FY21 YTD Summary. He noted the District’s finances are favorable against the budget.
Frank said he will make a rest-of-the-year forecast at a future Finance Committee meeting.
A discussion ensued on the financial differences between schools in the District.
IV. LEGISLATIVE CORRESPONDENCE RELATED TO H.91 BILL, MANDATORY TRANSITION TO EFINANCE STATEWIDE SYSTEM
Frank reviewed the subject, its history, its relevance to the District, the need for a uniform statewide accounting system, and critiques of the accounting system the Legislature chose for the statewide Efinance system contract.
Frank noted he wrote a correspondence to the Legislature detailing his concerns with the chosen system, and he will share that with members of the Finance Committee.
Frank asserted this is a very serious issue that could disrupt the District’s financial operations in January, 2022, if the law does not change requiring the District to use it.
JR asked if other states are currently using this system. Frank responded: yes, but those states have an updated version. Vermont bought an old version, he said. Frank provided background on the Agency of Education’s limited perspective on the issue, and how it possibly guided their decision.
Frank noted he contacted Senator Jeanette White and Representative Emilie Kornheiser about the issue, and they asked him for more information.
V. APPROVE WARRANTS AND PAYROLLS
Frank explained that it is the Board that approves these items; the Finance Committee issues a recommendation they do so after its review.
SM noted he reviewed the warrants and payrolls before the meeting, and he had no major questions about them.
MOTION BY JR FOR THE FINANCE COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND THE FULL WSESD BOARD APPROVE THE WARRANTS AND PAYROLLS AS WRITTEN. SM SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
VI. OTHER (CONTINUED)
SM announced that on April 6 the Finance Committee will have its reorganization meeting, and he will invite other Board members to join the Finance Committee.
After a discussion on the next date for the Finance Committee meeting, SM announced it will be April 27, at 5pm. On the agenda will be the Academy School project’s bidder prequalification process.
A discussion ensued on the Board’s public information meeting for the Academy School project. The possible date is May 6, which will accommodate Frank’s planned time off from work. Frank said he will propose this date at the April 6 Board meeting.
MOTION BY JR TO ADJOURN. SM SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:33pm.
Respectfully submitted by Wendy M. Levy from minutes taken by Wendy M. Levy.
This represents my understanding of the above dated meeting. If you have any changes, please submit them at the next Finance Committee meeting.