School audit report 11.4.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The Morenci Board of Education received a positive report from its past-year audit, but the reality of the current year came through later in the evening.

Auditor Phillip Rubley told board members the district was in a good position for the current economic times, but he cautioned that the situation could change rapidly.

The board has already seen some of those changes through the combination of lower enrollment and cuts in state funding. That led to the decision to lay off 2.5 teaching positions, one paraprofessional and two full-time secretaries. The cuts will take effect for the second trimester starting after the Thanksgiving break.

Additional cuts could be announced later, based on the final outcome of state funding decisions.

Superintendent of schools Kyle Griffith told audience members that the layoff decisions were very difficult for the board.

He said he doesn’t blame people for being angry about the cuts, but he urged people to channel their anger toward Lansing where legislators must work to make school funding right.

Rubley’s review of the audit showed an excess of $283,000 in revenue over spending before transfers to other funds, mainly athletics.

After transfers, the district’s fund equity stood at $811,952, as of June 30, 2009.

Rubley explained that he is also required to examine finances from a business model perspective of accounting. This gives a truer picture of equity, he said, since it shows total depreciation and debt obligations.

This approach places the fund equity at $629,000. The equity went down by $203,000 from the previous year, but Rubley said he believes it’s still in a good position for a district of this size.

“I think this is a very good report for the times,” he said. “I think you’re in a pretty good financial position, but you need to be extremely cautious.”

Additional state funding cuts could deliver a loss of $230,000 to $250,000 very quickly, he said.

Rubley said the food service account is in very good shape, with an equity of $147,000. The $225,000 transfer to the athletic fund was $20,000 less than budgeted.

Rubley gave the district the top rating for its accounting practices.

“Your system is excellent and probably one of the cleanest we audit,” Rubley said. “Your accounting records are very thorough and precise.”

Rubley said it’s rare to present an audit without some deficiencies, but he had none to discuss.

“You should be commended for that,” he said.

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