Friday, September 12, 2014

Community members appointed to school Financial Committee

Trustees appoint 6 applicants to advise board on money issues

Express Staff Writer

Blaine County School District Business Manager Mike Chatterton will be one of the district representatives on a newly formed Financial Committee, composed of community members and district officials. Chatterton, who was earlier mainly on his own in making financial recommendations to the district board of trustees, is shown here discussing budget matters at a meeting in 2009. Express file photo

The Blaine County School District board of trustees has finalized the composition of its newly formed Financial Committee, appointing six community members to the group, which will serve as an advisory committee to the board on money matters.
    The appointments were made Tuesday at the school board’s regular September meeting. Appointed to the committee were Michael Beck, Kim Bryson, Lyman Drake, Charlie Gifford, Gerhardt Morrison and Sandi Viau.
    The district will be represented on the committee by Business Manager Mike Chatterton, Wood River Middle School Vice Principal Robert Ditch and Wood River Middle School social studies teacher Elizabeth Andrews, representing the Blaine County Education Association. Also on the committee will be district Superintendent GwenCarol Holmes and/or district Assistant Superintendent John Blackman.
    The committee will likely hold an organizational meeting later this month. All meetings will be open to the public.
    The school board approved a policy governing the committee at its regular meeting in August. According to the policy, appointment of community members will be for one year, though committee members can be reappointed for a maximum of three years.
    The committee will review financial issues as directed by the board of trustees, though the committee can also bring issues to the attention of the board.
    Board Vice Chair Kathryn Graves suggested that the committee’s first issue be consideration of a salary structure for “classified” district employees—those who are not certified teachers.
    Formation of a financial advisory committee was recommended by some district constituents more than two years ago after the district became involved in litigation with McKinstry Essention, a company contracted by the district for energy savings work and other facility improvements. The litigation ended in October 2013 through an out-of-court settlement.
    The district asked for community applicants for the committee in April, and received five applications. The process was reopened in August because of delays in finalizing policy and forming the committee.
    A total of six applications was received.
    “I would like to recommend that we appoint all six,” Graves said at the Tuesday board meeting.
    As specified by the policy, which provides that the committee be composed of at least five community members, each board member made one appointment and the board as a whole appointed a sixth member as “at large.”
    Board Chair Shawn Bennion appointed Lyman Drake, who has a Ph.D. in political science and is a former Ketchum businessman, a community leader involved in several nonprofit organizations and a long-time follower of school district issues.
    Graves appointed Michael Beck, a CPA with 30 years of experience in financial accounting and the parent of two children who received educations from the district.
    Trustee Kathy Baker appointed Kim Bryson, a business owner and accountant experienced in human resources management, project accounting, financial consulting, bookkeeping and banking.
    Trustee Elizabeth Schwerdtle appointed Gerhardt Morrison, an attorney with experience in business and tax law, a former board member of a Seattle bank and a board member of Blaine County Citizens for Smart Growth.
    Trustee Rick Roberts appointed Sandi Viau, a CPA who has worked as a financial consultant, a controller, supervisor of an accounting team and an auditor.
    The board as a whole appointed Charlie Gifford. Gifford is a former U.S. Navy engineer, a market director, business analyst, multi-million-dollar project manager and a systems designer.

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