East Aurora Advertiser

District Receives Several Reports from Departments; Board Members Defend an Increase in Administration Services

The East Aurora School Board received several reports from district officials regarding updates across the district when the board met in November.

Student Enrollment Report

Director of Pupil Services Cindy Marinaccio provided the district with the student enrollment report, which is an annual calculation that shows the number of students enrolled in the district from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The report says the student body increased by 12 students from 2022-23 to 2023-24, for a total of 1,647. Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) enrollment was up eight students, for a total of 80. The number of students whose parents have placed in a non-public school is 186, up five from last year, and the number of homeschooled students in the district is 83, an increase of seven from 2022.

Marinaccio also provided a comparison of past and projected enrollment for the board. The district works with the Michigan Alliance for Student Opportunity to provide the projections. Over the next three years, the district is expected to see roughly a 1 percent change in enrollment for students K-12. There are no projections for UPK or the other forms of education listed in the report.
Board member Daniel Brunson said that he thought it was important to consider the UPK students in any discussion about enrollment.

“We are servicing a significantly larger number of students than we have in the past,” Brunson said of the UPK Program, “and that growth has occurred over the last three years.”

Brunson said that anyone who thought enrollment was decreasing was wrong and that enrollment is increasing.

“Anyone who doesn’t think we need the administrators that we have is wrong too,” Board member Terri Ohlweiler said, “because we’ve got two administrators dealing with 700 children [at Parkdale]. And that’s a lot of work.”

Board member Maria Improta said that people should be cautious of making broad generalizations based on minimal enrollment fluctuation. She said that she believed sometimes numbers could fluctuate for reasons beyond the control of the board like the number of students who were born in a particular year.

Financial Report

Assistant Superintendent Mark Mambretti presented the final financial grid from the 2022-2023 school year. 

Expenditures saw a leftover balance of approximately $163,000 and revenues saw an excess of about $1.4 million for an overall total of $1.6 million. 

The district is still waiting on a Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement payment of $39,000, which Mambretti said the district is expected to receive but there has been a lack of communication from the agency.

Mambretti also presented the 2023-2024 financial grid to the board with projections through the middle of the year.

Expenditures are projected to have a leftover balance of approximately $215,000 and revenues are projected at a surplus of about $37,000.

Business Administrator Joanne George said that the Audit Committee will be interviewing external auditors by the end of this month. She had a template with existing questions and asked for board considerations before finalizing the questionnaire.

Capital Improvement Update

Ohlweiler provided an update to the board on the 2022 Capital Improvement project. 

The district received a bid from Mollenberg-Betz for $485,000 for the project to replace the pipes and fix the drainage issues at the middle school.

“We were hoping the bids would come in lower than the one bid that came in,” Ohlweiler said.

The board unanimously voted to award the contract later in the meeting.

Bids for Phase 1 of the project, which include several security upgrades, as well as renovations at the middle school, will go live in December, with a due date of Jan. 30, 2024. The board is tentatively scheduled to approve all of the contractors for Phase 1 at their meeting on Feb. 7, 2024.

It was determined that the district will need two 3” service lines for their domestic water system in the coming years. 

Ohlweiler said that the Fillmore Avenue service connection was disconnected some time ago and no one knows why.

As a result, Phase 1 will include valve, piping and prepping work for future service reconnections.

“Eventually, at a further capital facilities project, we’re going to have to address this,” Ohlweiler said. “That next project, when it has to be done, but it’s going to be hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Blue Devil Design will be coordinating with the architecture team to design a vinyl film for the glass on the gymnasium doors scheduled for replacement at the high school, which will help to reduce the glare caused by the sun during the day.

The school board will meet again on Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. in the middle school library.

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