Applications being accepted for IRSD budget oversight committee

Date Published: 
April 7, 2017

Wanted: People who know numbers.

As promised, Indian River School District is seeking in-depth public input on district finances. The IRSD is now accepting applications for the new Citizens Budget Oversight Committee.

Volunteers will be specially trained to understand, review and contribute to regular discussions on IRSD budgets.

The goal is transparency, to ensure that public stakeholders can provide input on district finances.

“The committee will be advisory in nature and make recommendations on financial matters to the Indian River Board of Education,” according to a district statement. “The committee’s responsibilities will include, but not be limited to, review of monthly/quarterly financial statements, review of the annual budget before presentation to the Indian River Board of Education and review of trends and future needs of the district to prioritize future expenditures.”

The committee will include the district superintendent, the director of finance and 10 citizens of the Indian River School District.

All committee members will attend training provided by Delaware Department of Education.

“That’s especially important because … school finances are kind of complex when you’re dealing with local, state, federal — all these pots of money,” said David Maull, IRSD spokesperson.

Even school board members have acknowledged the challenges of education finance, compared to regular budgeting.

Meetings will occur at least quarterly, with the chairperson reporting at the Indian River Board of Education public meetings.

IRSD officials have said this isn’t the first citizen budget committee, but the last one came to be replaced by the IRSD Finance Committee, which meets monthly, but typically includes staff, board members and administration, although the public is welcome to participate or observe.

Since last autumn, there has been a public call for more financial oversight and transparency, in the wake of an unfavorable financial audit, the sudden departure of the district’s former chief financial officer and a failed public referendum.

New superintendent Mark Steele has said he wants the IRSD to create the 10-person board, as well as long-term plans for funding, enrollment and future growth.

Members can be residents, employees or parents in Indian River School District. Individuals would serve two-year terms, with the option to extend that by another three terms.

There is no apparent age minimum, although individuals will be judged on their educational and vocational backgrounds.

The deadline to apply is Monday, April 24. Committee members will be selected soon thereafter, and the first meeting will likely occur in May, with training in July.

People should submit an application form (available online); letter of interest; résumé of experience or qualifications for serving; and references that can attest to their educational/financial knowledge and/or community involvement.

Application paperwork should be submitted to Superintendent Mark Steele, Indian River School District; 31 Hosier St.; Selbyville, DE 19975, or to mark.steele@irsd.k12.de.us.

The initial Citizen Budget Oversight Committee membership will be chosen by a group that includes the district superintendent, the director of finance, a Board of Education member, an Indian River Education Association member and two parents/community members.

“Future vacancies on the committee will be handled on a case-by-case basis. This will involve advertising the vacancy in the community and soliciting applications,” Maull added.

The Indian River School District’s new finance information web page is www.irsd.net/departments/finance. Details and application forms are available online at www.irsd.net/news in the Budget Oversight news release.