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Following a 2018 Region 4 School District Board of Education (BOE) land acquisition—one that was done in a way that created confusion about exactly which fund was used to pay for the land—the board has created a new, dedicated fund designed to help it avoid similar problems in the future.
At the Oct. 3 Regional Supervision District Committee meeting, the committee unanimously voted, after executive session, to create a Capital Reserve Fund to ensure that moving forward, funds are managed in accordance with applicable state statutes.
At the BOE’s Sept. 25 special workshop meeting, West Hartford Schools’ retired business manager Chip Ward, who was asked in July to investigate and re-examine past BOE fiscal audits, explained his findings after investigating the BOE’s $379,916 purchase of the Mislick land in 2018.
The land, which is adjacent to Valley Regional High School, was purchased for possible future use as additional sports fields. However, Ward’s investigation found that the BOE failed to designate the property purchase as an appropriate line item in the appropriate fund.
“When we conducted our financial look back into what was being referred to as our capital fund, we could not find a history in that fund that gave evidence that the fund had been established as a capital reserve fund so, the committee made the vote to make the fund official,” explained Superintendent of Schools Brian White.
He added, “We are committed to moving forward and putting money into that account for capital expenditures. The step that the committee took at the [Oct.3,] meeting will ensure that those monies are utilized in accordance with state statute. This is a positive step forward and any lessons learned from the historical look back are a good opportunity for us to ensure that moving forward we are doing things in the correct way.”
According to Connecticut state law, a resolution must be passed by a BOE in order to establish a capital reserve fund to hold money allocated for non-recurring expenses.
It was decided at the same meeting that the district will put together a nine-person Capital Fund Task Force that will review and oversee the capital management policy, procedures, and practices, as well as the transfer of monies. This task force will report back to the Board and will include members of the Board of Finance from each town, as well as tri-town first selectmen and members of the Regional School District #4 Joint Board of Education Committee.
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