ETHS Superintendent Eric Witherspoon and ETHS Chief Financial Officer Mary Rodino with awards from the Government Finance Officers Association. Photo from ETHS files – taken in a pre-pandemic time

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At the Jan. 11 District 202 School Board meeting, Superintendent Eric Witherspoon announced that the school’s finance team had again won awards from the Government Finance Officers Association for their clear financial reporting. For the 11th consecutive year, the association awarded the District a Certificate of Excellence, and for the eighth consecutive year, the District  was awarded for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting. Both awards were for the 2018-19 school year.

Mary Rodino is Chief Financial Officer of the District, and Kendra Williams is Assistant Chief Financial Officer.

“Let me tell you how rare this award is,” said Dr. Witherspoon. “Out of over 800 school districts in Illinois, 25 have received this award this year. Out of the whole nation, out of the 13,506 school districts in the nation, only 542 have received this award this year.”

He added, “I think is really a reminder of this Board’s stewardship over the finances of this School District, because, ultimately, this falls to the Board. If you look at what the role and responsibility of the Board is, financial stewardship is the top of the list. And I think we as a School District and as a community can feel very pleased, competent, and actually brag a little that we have been received this award again.”

Even more exclusive, Dr. Witherspoon said, is the award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting. To receive the award, an entity must produce high quality popular annual financial reports specifically designed to be readily accessible and easily understandable to the general public and other interested parties without a background in public finance. ETHS District 202 is one of 30 districts across the country – and only two in Illinois, with Deerfield #109 – to receive this distinction.

The District created this report eight years ago and has received the award each year. While this is not a required document, the District believes it is essential in demonstrating transparency.

Ms. Rodino said, “The Popular Annual Financial Report “is not just financials, its financials in a much easier to understand format. Some of the titles of the pages include ‘Where does the money come from?’ ‘Where does the money go?’ So it’s really much more user friendly. And then it’s also full of a lot of articles and accomplishments, thanks to Kathy Miehls. She not only writes those articles, she does keep me on task every fall for making sure that we get the financial pieces done in order to get this document done on time.”

The District’s Popular Annual Financial Report, historically distributed as hard copy to the residents in District 202, became digital this year because of the pandemic. It can be found on the ETHS website, www.eths.k12.il.us.