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District finances better than expected

The financial statements of the Cloquet School District have received the highest available grade from the district's independent auditor. Chad Dunaiski of Eikill and Schilling Ltd. presented the findings from his company's annual audit of the di...

The financial statements of the Cloquet School District have received the highest available grade from the district's independent auditor.

Chad Dunaiski of Eikill and Schilling Ltd. presented the findings from his company's annual audit of the district's books at Monday's Cloquet School Board meeting.

The district received the rating of "unqualified" - as in, unqualified endorsement - in the areas of general finance reporting and reporting of federal awards.

"Those are very positive ratings," Dunaiski said.

The audit findings also showed the district performed better than anticipated in terms of its overall finances in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

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The district received $389,839 more in revenue than was budgeted, with total revenues of $25,124,654 for the year. Expenditures were also lower than budget by $74,538, leading to a general fund loss which was $464,377 lower than anticipated.

As a result, the general fund balance on June 30, 2012, was $8,080,699 - still $257,845 lower than a year before but better than the forecasted figure of $7.59 million.

"This was one of the finest audits I've ever been through," Superintendent Ken Scarbrough said. "[Business Manager] Kim [Josephson] and the staff deserve congratulations for a job very well done."

The student activities fund, which received special notice a year ago due to late depositing of receipts on some occasions, was this time singled out for praise by the auditors for having that issue successfully resolved.

"The activities department has worked diligently to make sure that those accounts are dealt with properly and deposits made in a timely fashion," Scarbrough added.

Board members also voted 4-1 to waive the standard three readings to approve changes to the district's investment policy. The changes will allow the district's financial advisors to use variable investments for the district's retiree health care trust fund. These types of investments are allowable under Minnesota Other Post-Employment Benefit (OPEB) statutes for use with those trusts, but are not generally available for use by school districts for other purposes.

Sandy Crowley voted against the measure, with Jim Crowley absent.

In other measures, the board also voted to waive the standard three readings for three other policy changes:

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- A policy changing the procedure for employee background checks to include potential employees in Community Education.

- A policy modifying the district's curriculum and instruction goals to maximize inclusivity for all students.

- A policy changing the district's procedures regarding open and closed meetings, including not allowing the use of recording devices in mediation sessions.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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