P-O gets good financial news, approves new notes

Less than 10 years after the darkest financial days at Philipsburg-Osceola, the district is being heralded for its great money management skills.

State College accounting firm Baker Tilly delivered the results of the annual audit Tuesday night, offering a clean bill of health for both financial soundness and compliance with government requirements.

“We don’t see this at many school districts,” said John Taylor.

P-O’s 2014 revenues came in at $1.5 million, more than budgeted, with expenses totally just $696,000, far less than anticipated.

“This shows the responsible spending going on in the district,” Taylor said.

“It was a very strong year.”

While recommendations suggest a district keep a fund balance with about two months of operating expenses, P-O’s fund balance is about double that.

“It takes everyone within the school distirct to make this thing work,” said business manager Michael Conte.

Superintendent Gregg Paladina said he was most proud that the district was able to achieve the good financial scores while still improving infrastructure investments over the last year.

The school board followed up the good news with action they hope will save even more money.

P-O will be pulling remaining bonds issued in 2005 and 2009 to reissue as notes at a lower interest rate.

John McShane, of Boenning and Scattergood, said the move will save the district about $1.1 million, reducing payments on some of the district’s $34.3 million in long-term debt.

The most recent bonds were part of the funding package that allowed the construction of the new middle school.