NORTH KINGSTOWN — For the sixth year in a row the North Kingstown School District was given the Meritorious Budget Award by The Association of School Business Officials International.
“ASBO International’s MBA and Pathway to the MBA promote and recognize best budget presentation practices in school districts. Participants submit their applications and budget documents to a panel of school financial professionals who review the materials for compliance with the MBA Criteria Checklist and other requirements and provide expert feedback that districts can use to improve their budget documents,” the press release announcing the award stated.
North Kingstown Chief Operating Officer Mary King said that they first applied for the award after the District’s controller approached her about applying.
“Our Controller, Steven Janelle, came to me one day several years ago and asked if it was okay if he submitted a document to ASBO for consideration for this award. I said, well, this is a huge amount of work but I certainly am pleased that you want to take the initiative. Go ahead and let me know how I can help,” King said. “Neither he nor I thought the district would achieve the award on the first try since the requirements are very stringent and a significant amount of data is required. However, the district has been awarded the ASBO Meritorious Budget Award from that first submittal and every year thereafter. I couldn’t be prouder.”
King said that while some people may think that it’s easy to win the award year after year, she explained that it’s not the case at all.
“I’m sure some people think, oh, it’s easy to keep receiving the award. But that is actually not the case. Each year significant data is required and the document needs to be refreshed for the current budget year as well as updating for the past year’s budget,” King said. “So while the first submittal is very onerous, the award is still a significant amount of work each and every year. And the district works to try to make the document better and better every year. This is a very prestigious award that shows the district’s dedication to transparency and excellence in financial reporting.”
North Kingstown Superintendent Phil Auger said that he is proud of the accomplishment by district staff members.
“I am very proud of Chief Operating Officer Mary King, Controller Steve Janelle, and the NKSD finance department team for their commitment to excellence in budgeting,” Auger stated. “Winning the ASBO Meritorious Budget Award is an indication to the North Kingstown Community that NKSD is holding itself to the nation’s highest standards for thoroughness and transparency. It is not easy to win this award, and it is rare that a school department would be recognized this often.”
She explained that the main reason why they were able to win the award is because of the strength of the district in all facets, and that despite the pandemic this year was no different.
“The district is strong due to the hard work of every single employee of the NKSD. This year more than ever we saw the dedication, commitment and hard work of all employees as we each struggled personally and professionally through unprecedented times,” King said. “For the district to continue to thrive through this pandemic shows the strength of the educational, operational and financial structure. North Kingstown citizens should be proud that this document is produced, providing detailed, historical financial information and other information relative to the school department such as test scores and the other many awards this district achieves.”
“This award, while largely financial in nature, is really a showcase of the achievements of every aspect of the district from our educational accolades to our athletic awards to our financial achievements,” she added. “In my mind, everyone in this district is responsible for this award. The North Kingstown School Department is a strong entity, and we should all be very proud of that fact.”
When asked if they would be going for the award for the seventh year in a row next year, King said, “absolutely.”
“While Steven Janelle is the architect of the document, it is important to me and the superintendent, Dr. Auger, that we continue to show our commitment to the financial integrity of the school department. The document provides a wealth of data for anyone who has questions about the district,” she said.