School Bond /Auditor Selection
I would like to cover two unrelated topics of interest in this article, San Mateo-Foster City School District proposed bond issue, and my thoughts on the Foster City Auditor selection.
School District Bond Issue
A meeting of the San Mateo-Foster City School District Board was held on March 1 and it has been well documented as to the outcome that the proposed bond slated for the June ballot be postponed until further review of additional options be considered.
The issuance of a bond to raise money for the entire District to be used for upgrading school buildings, new computer labs and libraries seems simple enough. As you drive by the four Foster City schools, you will recognize the need for repairs; Foster City School, for example, is currently in the renovation process.
Raising funds for an additional elementary school is a bit more complicated as three funding needs must be addressed: acquiring the land, building the school, and supporting ongoing operations. I have stated at City Council meetings that I would also like to see a middle-school plan that will provide sufficient classrooms for the growing elementary school population when they reach middle-school age. I would rather see a sound financial plan that encompasses Kindergarten through 8th grade and perhaps raise funds through incremental bond issues.
I am pleased to see the issue of the bond issuance being pulled back for re-consideration. It is no secret that that we are experiencing some challenging economic times. We (all municipalities) are being forced to look at new methods and fresh approaches to provide the same services in the wake of rising costs and reduced revenues. We at the City level are seeing this and the School District is certainly feeling the pinch from continual reduced funds allocated from the State.
I have been serving on the City Council sub-committee working with the School District for three years and I have experienced that the lines of communication and openness have greatly improved. I have every expectation that this trend will continue. Perhaps my optimism leads me to believe that we can collectively arrive at a non-emotional solution that benefits Foster City and its children in the long run.
Foster City Auditor Selection
Foster City is currently in the process of selecting an external auditing firm to be the public auditor for Foster City and the Estero Municipal Improvement District for the next five years. The screening process is done by the Audit Committee with the assistance of the Financial Services Department staff. The purpose of the auditing firm is to offer independent judgment regarding the financial statements of all funds and whether general accounting principles are being adhered to and followed.
As part of the auditor selection process, offer letters and auditing requirements were sent out to twenty auditing firms asking if they would be interested in submitting a proposal for consideration. From those twenty, eight responses were received by the required deadline.
On March 6, 2012, the Audit Committee met and reduced the number from the eight submitted proposals down to three. During the week of March 12, reference checking will be done on these remaining three firms. Then, on March 17, oral interviews will take place and the Audit Committee will reduce the number to one firm, which will then be submitted to the City Council as their recommendation to be the Foster City and Estero Municipal Improvement District’s auditors for the next five years.
Selecting an auditing firm is no easy task and as one would expect, the City Council will rely heavily on the recommendation of the Audit Committee which bears the burden of delivering a level of confidence in the recommended firm. The members of the Audit Committee have demonstrated that they are well qualified and dedicated individuals who have nothing but the best interests of Foster City in mind. I feel confident that the selection that they ultimately deliver to the Council will be well thought out.
I would appreciate your comments on this and other issues by emailing me at email@example.com or 650-573-7359.
March 14, 2012
School Bond /Auditor Selection