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Seneca school district approves two contracts
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At their meeting last Wednesday, the Seneca School Board ratified contracts with the teachers union and the support staff union authorizing a two-percent raise in the base pay.

The contracts reflect the same pay raise the board had decided upon earlier, but formalized them in union contracts. The district decided to approve and sign contracts with the unions since the status of the unions to bargain contracts is currently under litigation in the courts.

Seneca School District Administrator Dave Boland explained later that signing the contracts was a way to protect the district regardless of what decision the courts reach.

The board also gave their approval for a Spanish Club trip to Florida with the condition that parents of students in the club be notified of possible costs. Some of the trip’s costs have been offset by fundraising efforts. However not all students will receive the same support from the fundraising. That support based on when they joined the club and how much they helped in fundraising. All costs for the trip will be paid by the club and the students participating in the trip.

During the administrator’s report, Boland informed the board that problems with crediting retirement contributions to staff members’ accounts had been corrected and all of the accounts are accurate. He explained the firm that handles the work had made an error and not credited the contributions to the correct year. The firm runs the program on a calendar year running from January 1 to December 31, while the district and its employees operate on a fiscal year that runs from July 1 to June 30. This difference may have played a role in some of the retirement contributions not being recorded in the appropriate year.

However, the $17,000 error in recording the retirement contributions has been corrected, Boland reported.

The recently completed audit of the district finances noted a few issues with how the funds are handled, but Boland assured the board that all of the four points are already addressed. The district administrator noted that a new person performed the audit for the accounting firm and that person was not familiar with everything in place for the district.

For instance, the audit warned the board they had deposits at the bank beyond the limits covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. However, Boland noted the bank has additional insurance to cover the amounts in excess of the FDIC limits.

Similarly, concerns by the auditor about anti-fraud policy and retirement benefit policy was covered by district policy that the auditor was unaware existed.

An examination of the building by the district’s insurance company found very little that needed to be corrected, Boland reported. Two of the concerns involved property owned by others that was at the school and in both cases the district had the property removed by the owners. In another case, the district replaced a cord on a light fixture.

As part of the inspection, an industrial hygienist walked through the building and observed the HVAC system. She did not find anything substantially wrong with the systems vents, filters or furnace, according to Boland.

Board member Larry Kelley asked if air samples had been taken. Boland said they were not. He explained the hygienist did not see a need for taking samples based on her inspection.

The district gave its monthly recognition award to the school’s music department for the excellently produced holiday concert presented last Monday. The board recognized in particular the work of elementary music teacher Laura Mackey and high school band director Christy Anderson.