SAD 17 to borrow $ 3.6 million to address cash flow issues


The board of directors for school administrative district 17 is meeting on Tuesday evening in Paris, voting to approve a loan of $ 3.6 million to cover a cash shortfall attributed to reimbursements of coronavirus relief bills. Nicole Carter / Democrat Advertiser

PARIS – The school administrative district 17 board of directors voted on Tuesday to authorize a $ 3.6 million loan to cover a cash shortfall attributed to federal coronavirus relief bill repayments.

Superintendent Monica Henson asked the board of directors to authorize her and the district business manager / finance director to arrange for an advance loan on taxes and income up to $ 3.6 million. of dollars.

“I have been informed by the former CFO that we are having a cash flow problem,” Henson said. “I have independently verified with two other sources that the cash flow issue relates to the administration of the federal grant program.

“We’re going to have to do some sorting out and some corrections. It could take several months to correct in order to get the repayments and bring our cash flow to where it should be. “

Henson said last week she had accepted the resignation of Cathy Coffey, the district’s longtime business manager, and has since appointed SAD 17 accountant Carrie Colley as interim CFO.

“The finance committee – Scott Buffington, Lew Williams, Sarah Otterson and myself – recommend that the board adopt it so that we can move forward and meet our obligations,” said the committee chair. , Bob Jewell from Paris. “The way it will work is a lot like a line of credit. “

Jewel said the committee expects the district will not need to borrow more than $ 2 million, but without knowing how the repayment funds will come in, the committee unanimously agreed that a loan of $ 3.6 million is prudent.

The directors voted in favor of the measure, with the exception of William Rolfe of Paris-Ouest.

Henson also informed the board of personnel shortages in the transportation department that have disrupted schedules and caused seven school buses to fail a state inspection last week.

Originally a full-time driver and mechanic when classes started last week, another driver suffered a medical issue over the weekend and will need a long period of recovery, she said. declared.

“We have had a replacement driver candidate who is licensed and available to work as a replacement,” Henson said. “We have five employees who have signed up for standby driver training. We have three applications on file for new drivers and no applications for the Mechanic position open.

She said she was in discussions with RideSource, a Norway-based transportation company, to outsource school routes, and with Northeast Charter of Lewiston to manage transportation for the sports department.

To address the shortage of drivers and mechanics, Henson asked the board to approve registration bonuses of $ 1,500 for new drivers who get their commercial driver’s license and stay in the district for at least. two years. The same amount would be paid to current drivers in three installments as a retention bonus.

Despite concerns that other employees will not receive bonuses or that driver payments will affect future contract negotiations, the board has approved Henson’s request.

Rolfe voted against the measure and Chris Miller from Norway abstained.

Henson said she expects the total cost of the bonuses, which will not exceed $ 70,000, to be covered primarily by money from coronavirus relief bills and the district contingency fund.

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