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Cloquet Superintendent clarifies that audit numbers don't mean new revenue

The school district received its 2010-2011 audit results a little over a month ago, and I have come to realize that there is a possibility that some people easily could have been confused over an audit finding that made close to a $2 million corr...

The school district received its 2010-2011 audit results a little over a month ago, and I have come to realize that there is a possibility that some people easily could have been confused over an audit finding that made close to a $2 million correction in anticipated revenues. The purpose of this letter is to help clarify this correction and to explain why this is not the same thing as the district suddenly finding $2 million in unanticipated revenues.

These revenues were in our budget from the very beginning of the fiscal year, and we had been reporting on them for the entire 2010-2011 school year. An omission on an October report to our financial accounting service did not include two revenue funds that we track separately, Fund 3 (transportation) and Fund 5 (capital), into what the state wants to see consolidated into Fund 1. Our auditors made this correction for us and reported that in their audit presentation to the school board. Therefore, we did not end up with an additional $1.8 million.

In this same audit report, we see that we were within 2 percent of budgeted revenues and 2 percent of budgeted expenditures. The audit further shows that we had some positive budget outcomes due to the following reasons:

+ Health insurance savings

+ Less fringe benefit expenditures than expected

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+ Very good medical assistance revenue

+ Better than expected special education revenue

+ Better than expected student enrollments

+ Unexpected federal funding in the new jobs bill (2010)

+ Receiving additional grant money

+ Under spending our budget between 1 and 2 percent

The final figures showed our fund balance increasing a little less than 1 percent. Because we had projected a deficit, that was good news. This is part of the reason why we were able to not cut so deeply into our budget last spring and why we could consider adding all-day/every-day kindergarten.

The main reason for this letter is to let the public know that what may have appeared to be new revenue of almost $2 million for the school district really was just revenue that had been in our budget from the beginning of that fiscal year. As I addressed in the recent referendum election, we are not out of the woods financially. We are still projecting a deficit for the current school year, and without planning to lower our spending, that projected deficit will continue to grow.

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Once again I want to thank our public for voting to extend the current referendum authority of about $100 per student. Without that extension, our district would be looking at an additional $300,000 in budget reductions beyond what we will be reducing this spring.

Related Topics: CLOQUETEDUCATION
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