Cloquet School Board approves audit

Dustin Opatz of BerganKDV presented the audit findings to the board prior to the vote.

Garfield School
Garfield School.
File / Pine Journal
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CLOQUET — The School Board unanimously approved the district's fiscal-year 2022 financial audit Monday, Oct. 24.

During the meeting at Garfield School, BerganKDV manager Dustin Opatz presented the findings of the audit to the board, which included an unmodified opinion for the district — the best an auditor can offer.

The lone area of deficiency reported by Opatz was a lack of segregation of accounting duties, which stems from a limited number of office employees. The finding is common among districts of Cloquet’s size, as Superintendent Michael Cary shared that only three districts in the entire state using BerganKDV for auditing are found to be in compliance.

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According to Cary, the district is taking steps to overcome this issue by increasing oversight.

“While everything that we’re doing right now is sufficient from an auditing standpoint, any time that we can put some more checks and balances in place I think is a good thing,” Cary said. “Because it’s just reducing the opportunity that anything inappropriate could be done.”


Later in the presentation, Opatz went over the district’s five-year trend of declining resident average daily membership, which included a drop of 60 residents from 2021 to 2022. Over the five-year span, resident average daily membership has decreased approximately 167 units, or 6.5%, according to district.

According to Opatz, the decrease has been offset by the increase in non-resident students coming into the district through open-enrollment, which increased by 10 students in 2022 from 2021.

“The district historically has had a pretty positive impact from open enrollment. ... So even though your residents are declining, your open enrollment is helping you quite a bit so that your total enrollment is actually staying pretty flat year over year,” Opatz said.

The district’s total general fund revenue increased 3.2% in 2022 ($36.94 million) from 2021 ($35.8 million), with state revenue up $81,326. State revenue accounts for the bulk of the district’s revenue at 79.2%.

The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 4 at Garfield School.

Jake Przytarski is a reporter for the Cloquet Pine Journal covering a mix of news and sports.
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