(The following letter was previously sent to the Hicksville Board of Education and is being reprinted here at the author's request.)
On Jan. 31, I forwarded a letter to the superintendent of the Hicksville School District (copy to school board) regarding the failure of the school district to disclose a known material uncertainty in connection with the Post Employment Health Insurance Benefit liability in the June 30, 1998 financial statements. This uncertainty eventually resulted in an $8.5 million increase to long-term debt a year later in the June 30, 1999 financial statements. However, since it was known that there was a material contingency at the time the 1998 financial statements were issued, this fact should have been disclosed in those financial statements. My letter questioned the reasons for the one year delay in reporting the $8.5 million increase in the liability and the circumstances surrounding the event. In addition, my query attempted to fix responsibility for the omission.
It should be noted that this increase in long-term debt is associated with the district's ill-fated decision to self-insure its retirees in a plan administered by Benefit Plan Administration (BPA). This is the same company that administered Nassau County's self-insurance program which is currently under investigation by the FBI.
On Feb. 25, the superintendent responded to my letter. In his three line, two sentence reply, he refused to answer any of the questions I asked.
As board trustees, who exercise fiduciary oversight of the district's $62 million budget, do you feel that the superintendent is fulfilling his responsibility to the taxpayers, when he refuses to answer several important questions about deficiencies and lack of timely disclosure in the district's June 30, 1998 financial statements?
Thank you for your attention to this matter, I look forward to your response.
Thomas J. Walsh