February 28, 2023
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Mandatory financial audits and a comprehensive review by the state Department of Education show the Robbinsville Public Schools are financially strong and operating a peak performance.
This is the third annual audit under Schools Superintendent Brian Betze and Business Administrator Nick Mackres, each year showing tight accounting practices and clean financial records. The independent audit was completed by Holt McNally & Associates of Medford, a certified public accounting firm, which presented its findings at the February school board meeting for public discussion.
“All school districts in New Jersey are required to undergo a detailed audit each year to ensure funds are accepted and disbursed properly,” Betze said. “Over the summer, auditors spent three weeks studying the school district’s accounting mechanisms. The final report was just released, showing for the third year in a row a clean audit, with absolutely no issues or concerns.”
As part of the detailed review of the 2021-22 budget, auditors matched up random samplings of purchase orders to ensure expenditures are in the correct budget lines. They also examine the funding stream for students’ sports and clubs, as well as ensure incoming funds are being properly transferred to the right places within the budget. There is also a compliance check to ensure the school district’s accounting practices meet all state guidelines.
Betze attributed the positive audit report to Mackres and his team in the school district’s business office, who handle all financial matters for the three district schools.
“The taxpayers of Robbinsville entrust the school district with managing an annual budget of $61.3 million, of which $45 million is generated by local property taxpayers,” said School Board President Richard Young. “It is critical that every dollar is wisely spent, in accordance with state guidelines, to ensure we are providing a thorough and efficient education to each and every student. That is why this audit result is so important. It shows our school administrators are right on task as financial stewards.”
School officials also received good news from the state Department of Education, which conducts the Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) assessment every three years. The state reviews five different areas of the school district, including 55 curriculum documents and 189 indicators.
Under the leadership of the district’s new directors of curriculum/instruction, as well as their supervisors, the Robbinsville Public Schools are now 100% compliant in curriculum. It is expected the school district will be compliant in all areas when the state issues a final report in the beginning of April.
“The state wants to ensure full compliance within all of our operations,” the superintendent explained. “Auditors examine finances, operations, governance, procedures, curriculum, instruction and facilities. It is a very deep dive, to the point in which state inspectors ensure fire extinguishers are up to code. They even check to see if closet doors close properly and flush all the toilets.”
The state also looks at long-term planning as part of a comprehensive assessment. Betze is coordinating a strategic planning process through the winter and spring, which includes a community survey that residents are asked to submit by Monday, March 13. The survey, which should take about 15 minutes to complete, is available at the school district website, http://www.Robbinsville.k12.nj.us
There are nearly 110 residents and other stakeholders who have volunteered for the strategic planning process this winter, in which monthly meetings are held to set a long-term direction for improving student achievement. Community recommendations will be incorporated in a draft Robbinsville Public Schools 2023-2028 Strategic Plan, which the school board is expected to adopt at its June meeting.
“We have received tremendous input from all sectors of our community as we plan for the long-range success of our public schools,” Young said. “It is important that as many stakeholders as possible participate in the community survey, thus ensuring the final, approved plan truly reflects direction dictated by the people of Robbinsville.”