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Aug. 27 forum to focus on ANwSU accounting problems

VERGENNES — The Addison Northwest Supervisory Union board has scheduled a forum next week to allow ANwSU residents to learn more and ask questions about the district’s accounting problems and its efforts to correct them.
The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 6:30 p.m. in the Vergennes Union High School library.
ANwSU board chairman Jeffry Glassberg said earlier this month that officials “understand the public will have questions and concerns” about the accounting and financial reporting shortfalls that led the Vermont Agency of Education to suspend for roughly four months state and federal grant payments to the district.
Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe and other top agency officials agreed in a July 30 meeting with Glassberg and new ANwSU Superintendent JoAn Canning to resume making payments, assuming ANwSU meets a list of conditions.
An Aug. 4 letter to Glassberg and Canning from Holcombe also stated that AOE officials are “reassured” by ANwSU’s “swift and thorough response” to addressing the shortcomings, which Glassberg said he, the rest of the ANwSU board and Canning learned about only in early July.
That response will include completing overdue audits in a timely manner, working with Agency of Education monitors to fulfill outstanding grant reporting requirements, creating satisfactory financial and reporting policies and procedures for the future, placing business manager Kathy Cannon on paid administrative leave, and agreeing to work with ANwSU on finding a new business manager,
The grants for which ANwSU had not been filing timely and complete reports typically total more than $1 million a year, according to district officials.
They include funding for federal Medicaid, Title I Migrant, and Teacher Quality programs, plus money to support math and literacy programs and special education. They also include state funds for afterschool and Reading Readiness programs.
Glassberg said the Wednesday meeting will be the primary opportunity for residents to speak to ANwSU officials about the accounting issues: Time will not be set aside at other school board meetings to deal with the larger ANwSU financial picture.
“That’s not the place to try to talk about this, so we want to have a special forum where we can have some dialogue,” he said.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent.com.

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