School board gets good news
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 8:01 AM
When the Spring Grove Board of Education met last week, finances - both past and future - were on the agenda.
Following the annual truth in taxation hearing, ISD #297 directors voted to certify the levy payable in 2014 at $525,582. That's $30,306 (5.45 percent) less than last year.
The board also heard from Kimberly Hillberg of Clifton Larson Allen LLP, who presented results from the latest school audit. That document covers the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013.
With total expenditures of $3,559,930 and revenues of $3,658,930, Spring Grove Public Schools bumped up its total fund balance by nearly $100,000, from $713,916 to $813, 561.
The district receives 74.32 percent of its revenues from the State of Minnesota. Property taxes pay 14.54 percent. Federal monies total 3.28 percent, while a variety of other sources such as grants add 7.86 percent.
Hillberg cited the positive effects of growing enrollment on the books, but cautioned directors that the Health and Safety fund balance posted it's third straight deficit last year. At the end of FY 2013, that shortfall was $58,334.
"It's getting to the point now where you probably want to consider doing something about that," she stated.
"Overall, things are looking good. Enrollment increases certainly helped you general-fund-wise."
Material weaknesses include oversight of the financial reporting process, material audit adjustments, controls over cash receipts, controls over wire transfers, and student activity receipts. Hillberg has reported each year that those "oversight" issues stem primarily from the fact that the district is small enough that a limited number of people are available to separate duties. It's a common problem with smaller school districts where there just aren't enough "eyes" to double-check everything.
Superintendent Rachel Udstuen reported that the $1.1 billion State of Minnesota surplus may help out schools. "It will be interesting for us to see how that plays out," she said. "I would imagine that we will see a lot of conversation about paying back the money that they're borrowing from schools. So, we'll just keep an eye on that, but it is great news.
Directors also voted to contract with Richard's Sanitation of Caledonia for trash removal. That will not only save the district $261 per month in fees when compared to the previous provider, it will also allow for an enhanced recycling program, Udstuen stated.
Separate votes approved the 2013-14 seniority list and the "literacy plan" which the district file each year with the Minnesota Department of Education.
In addition, directors approved open enrollment requests for Lienn, Andrew, and Patrick Cunningham, whose family is relocating to Spring Grove from the Mabel-Canton school district in January.
The next meeting of the board of education was set for Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 5 pm.