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Operations & Business Services Newsletter November 5, 2018
Operations & Business Services Newsletter November 5, 2018
Dr. Frank Evans
Monday, November 05, 2018

Construction Update

We received three quotes to do modifications to the doorways and vertical wheel chair lift shaft for the installation of a new vertical lift for Stella May Swartz School. The bids were: Troop Contracting - $65,000, D Kersey Construction Company - $58,616, and the lowest responsible bid from Construction Solutions of Illinois, Inc. - $42,723. The work will be done over the Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks. Earlier this fall we replaced the incline wheel chair lift at Stella May Swartz School. All three schools will soon be handicapped accessible.

Boiler work will be scheduled soon at Stella May Swartz School. Both boilers will be repaired and retuned to efficiently run with the lower chimney. The repairs should insure that the units will be able to get through this winter and the winter of 2019-20. Both boilers are scheduled to be replaced during Summer 2020 construction. Once they are replaced all three schools will have state-of-the-art condensing boilers. Oak Brook Mechanical, Inc. who services the boilers will do the work paid from the Repair Construction Bond proceeds.

Our repairs over the years have included new air conditioning chillers for all three schools and with the Summer 2019 work schools will have new roofs with the exception of the gym roof at Stella May that still has several years of useful life. Salt Creek Primary and Stella May Swartz have new unit ventilators. Unit ventilators at Albright Middle School were replaced in 2005.

Remodeling Of The Stella May Swartz School Library Requested For Board of Education Approval

Architects and interior designers have been working with the principal and assistant principal at Stella May Swartz School over the past month finalizing remodeling of the library/LMC at the school. The work will be done in three phases with the first phase this year followed by additional work next summer and the following summer. The proposal is going to the Board of Education for approval at their November 14, 2018 meeting.

If approved, the initial phase work that will be done now will include all new shelves, circulation desk, student seating and tables, and a special gathering area. The library/LMC will be repainted in Classrooms of the Future colors and new carpet installed.

Later phases, if approved, will remove walls separating existing storerooms to enlarge the library/LMC, a new entrance into the library/LMC, new outside windows, and a remodeled exit to the playground.

 "Illinois News Network” Reports Growing Number Of $100,000 Plus Public Pensions In Illinois Cost Taxpayers

 The Illinois News Network reports two recent studies of public sector pay and retirement benefits show tens of thousands of retired public employees making six figures or more in all levels of government, dwarfing figures from states with more people. Two organizations that reviewed and released the information hope it encourages taxpayers to seek change.

Illinois has more than $130 billion in unfunded pension debt for its five state-run pension systems. Adding in other post-employment benefits, that number climbs to more than $200 billion. Municipal governments in Illinois also are struggling with unfunded pension liability. Some report using most, if not all, of their share of property taxes to pay pension costs.

Taxpayers United of America said Illinois’ public sector pension plans are too expensive. To highlight the problem, its annual pension report of all public employees in Illinois shows nearly 19,500 government retirees getting a pension of $100,000 or more. That’s 2,500 more retirees than last year. The group’s founder, Jim Tobin, said that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “The pensions are just out of line,” he said. “We’ve got one guy here who’s getting an annual pension of almost $600,000 a year and he’ll get $22 million if he lives to be 85. It’s ridiculous”.

OpenTheBooks.com founder Adam Andrzejewski said Illinois has more educators in the so-called $100,000 Club than more populous Texas, which has 7,300 educators making that much or more.” Just on salaries, Illinois has nearly 20,000, so it’s three times worse, yet Texas has twice the population,” Andrzeljewski said.

Andrzelijewski’s research shows overall, 23,000 retirees got $100,000 or more in annual pension payments. Adding in the 71,000 employees at every level of government making at least that much in pay, and the number is 94,000 current public employees or pensioners making $100,000 or more a year.

“Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar double dipped the Illinois General Assembly pension ($166,000 per year), the State University Retirement System pension ($83,000 per year), and was hired back part time by the University of Illinois for another $69,769, Andrzejewski’s report said. In total, Edgar pulled down more than $311,0000 last year, in addition to the $2.4 million in compensation  from the University of Illinois (2000-2013) and another $2 million in pension payments already paid-out from his 20 year career as a legislator, secretary of state, and governor.”

RJB Properties, Inc. – Our Custodian Company Installs State-Of-The-Art Timeclocks

Our day and afternoon shift custodians work for RJB Properties, Inc. and their payroll is handled by ADP. RJB Properties, Inc. has installed hand scanners for their employees to clock in and clock out for breaks and when reporting for work or leaving work. The system prevents others from clocking in and out other employees and provides required record keeping data in case of an audit.  Our district hourly employees clock in and out through their Skyward employee portal that is tied to our business office payroll system.

 Are The HP Color Printers From FlexPrint Meeting Your Needs?

The representative of Flexprint is coming for a meeting next week regarding the three HP Color Printers (one for each school) that have been operating for the past two years. We are interested to know if the machines are meeting your needs. If they need repair has a tech promptly responded to get the machine up and running for you?

The three machines are leased on a multiple year basis. I have asked the representative to bring copy counts with him to see if the three machines have been run on a somewhat equal basis. If we find a machine with high copy counts compared to one with much lower copy counts the machines may be moved around because we do want them to be evenly used during the lease.

The District Office Ricoh Color copier is used for extensive copy runs that require color because the cost per sheet (10 cents) is much less than the three HP color printers provide by Flexprint.

District Audit Management Letter Compliments Business Office Staff

The independent auditors from Wermer, Rogers, Doran & Ruzon said, “The District’s business office staff played an essential role in the delivery of the audited basic financial statements. All information requested by our audit staff was made available. District staff members were courteous and helpful in providing requested documents to our auditors. Bank reconciliations and general ledger closing procedures were performed soon after year end. All Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund and Teachers’ Retirement System reports were prepared and filed on a timely basis.”  Kudos to Susan Nelson and Lill Almeroth for their extensive help and support!

Management Letter Provides Recommendations For Improvement

We appreciate the recommendations of the independent auditors for ways to improve our business office operations. Their recommendations:

  • To only record capital outlay expenditures of $1,000 or more per item. Several expenditures below that level were recorded.
  • The auditors recommended that the District review its capital assets policies and detailed records and make necessary adjustments.
  • Now that the District has changed its business accounting software from Data Control Research (used for 20+ years) to the new Skyward accounting software the firm recommends using the software to streamline the payroll process and ensure accurate reporting of payroll information instead of using excel spread sheets for employee benefit tracking.
  • A number of P-Card expenditures included sales tax which the district is exempt from paying. P-Card holders need to provide the Illinois sales tax exemption to vendors BEFORE making a purchase.
  • The E-Pay account was not reconciled to the General Ledger, an excel spreadsheet was used instead. The account should be properly recorded using the Skyward system.
  • The District should implement review procedures to ensure the budget entered into the District’s accounting software agrees with the budget on file with the Illinois State Board of Education. It was noted that the District subsequently updated the budget for external reporting purposes.
  • Stale-dated checks, over six months old dating back to 2003, that have not cleared the bank should have procedures developed to ensure compliance with the Illinois Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.

 Quote of The Week

“Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.” ~ William Haley