Riverhead school board notes: Financial auditors give the district high marks

VERA CHINESE PHOTO | School Board president Ann Cotten-Degrasse presents former Riverhead schools physician Rogelio Lao with a plaque for his 41 years of service.

The Riverhead School district has good internal controls over its general fund, extraclassroom fund and its federal funds, according to findings presented by the district’s external auditor at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Vincent Cullen of the accounting firm Cullen & Danowski LLP, which as required by law is paid by the district to perform the annual financial analysis, was on hand to discuss the audit. The analysis focused on the general fund, the extraclassroom fund —  expenses that occur through student activities outside the classroom, such as clubs  — and money the district received from the federal government.

And the process and findings reflected positively on Riverhead, Mr. Cullen said, noting that the lines of communication were open between his office and district officials throughout.
“I’m here to tell you we had full cooperation from your staff,” Mr. Cullen said.

The board also unanimously accepted the auditor’s findings.

In other school board news, the district approved the first two contracts of the voter-approved $78.3 million plan for infrastructure updates at district buildings and grounds. Those contracts are a $48,805 agreement with Soil Mechanics Drilling Corporation for soil boring and a $90,2000 agreement with L.K. McLean Associates for land surveying.

These steps are needed in order to gain site plan approval from the state Education Department. The money will be borrowed from the general fund and later reimbursed, because the project has not yet been bonded, school board president Ann Cotten-Degrasse told those in attendence.

The board also recognized Dr. Rogelio Lao for serving 41 years as district physician. Dr. Bellamy Brook of The Medical Home in Riverhead has taken over his post. A request for proposals was issued to fill the position, and though Dr. Lao said he had submitted a bid for his old job, the district decided to hire Dr. Bellamy.

Ms. Cotten-Degrasse said the district opted to issue the RFP in part due to recent changes in medical practices.

“We just felt we needed somebody who was younger and more up to date on practices,” Ms. Cotten-Degrasse told the News-Reveiw earlier this week.

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