2011-11-17 / Front Page

School board hears audit report

BY RHONDA S. SANDERS 810-452-2665  rsanders@mihomepaper.com

FLINT TWP. — Escalating retirement fund costs looming in years ahead plus declining student enrollment add up to “a tough budgetary environment” for Carman-Ainsworth, as highlighted in the district’s Financial Audit for the fiscal year ending June 30.

“This is the straw that is going to break the camel’s back,’’ said Thomas M. Taylor of Taylor & Morgan Certified Public Accountants, in the audit presentation at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

An increase in the state-mandated retirement fund rate means a difference of about $1.1 million in costs from last year to this year and projected out three years rises to $2.5 million in added retirement costs alone, Taylor said.

“It is a huge number and it is going to get worse,’’ he said, despite talks about a one-time allocation that could help offset this year’s increase.

Taylor walked through the highlights of a 92-page audit report which school districts are required to submit to the state by Nov. 15.

CA’s comprehensive audit contains more statistical information than most, he said. Last year was the first time it was submitted and garnered the district a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting.

Taylor also addressed enrollment and the fund balance.

Like many school districts, CA is troubled by less revenue because of declining enrollment. Due to state budget cuts, CA received $7,759 per pupil in state aid this school year down from $8,229 last year.

The district’s fund balance declined about $200,000 this year leaving a total of $5,034,954 as of June 30, Taylor said.

He noted also that the district passed a budget in June that will tap into the fund balance to offset about a $2.2 million shortfall in expenses over revenues.

Superintendent Bill Haley said he felt better about the fund balance picture when considering incoming funds not accounted for such as about $450,000 expected from a Best Practice resolution the board approved Tuesday night.

Districts become eligible for additional funds under the Best Practice Incentive by complying with four of five criteria required by the state school aid act.

Haley also said changes in bargaining agreements could bring in another $300,000- $400,000 in funds owed the district from other municipalities that could equal those amounts.

“After I thought about that I felt better,’ he said. Negative trends in funding and enrollment are definitely troubling long term, Haley said, but he thinks the district is on solid ground in the foreseeable future.

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