Delano Schools gets clean audit report

The Delano School Board Monday, Nov. 26, got good news from its auditor, Matt Mayer, of Kern DeWenter and Viere, in the form of an unqualified opinion — the best opinion an auditor can issue.

He also said that Delano Schools did not dip into its reserve funds to the extent that budget planners had anticipated prior to the 2012 budget year.

The School Board also took up other business.

Here are some meeting highlights.


Originally, school officials expected the district to use $474,000 from reserves to help pay for General Fund expenses. General Fund revenues were expected to be $19.9 million, and expenditures were expected to be $20.3 million.

Actual revenues amounted to $20 million — $147,000 over budget. Actual expenditures were $20.1 million — $262,000 under budget. As a result, Delano Schools spent only $65,000 from reserves, thus leaving $5.98 million in the reserve fund. This healthy reserve fund balance meant that the school district did not have to resort to borrowing money to cover its cash flow — something that many other school districts had to do, Mayer said.

He also said that the money that a district has available is the driving force behind what it can spend. Delano’s General Fund revenues per student are about $2,000 less than the state average. This is due to the district’s lower than average operating levy referendum money and low population of students eligible for free and reduced meals, which determines compensatory money from the state. The state’s underfunding of special education also affected Delano Schools’ General Fund revenue.

Due to lower than average revenue, Delano’s expenditures also are approximately $2,000 less than the state average, Mayer said. In 2011, Delano Schools received revenue of $8,614 per pupil, compared with the $10,537 state average. Delano Schools spent $8,517 per pupil, compared with the $10,244 state average.

Much of Delano’s direct income comes from the size of its student population, Mayer said. The amount of operating levy money is determined by a dollar value per pupil multiplied by the number of pupils.  The state weights the money it pays by class size. Since 2008, Delano has experienced a one percent drop in the number of students living in the district. In 2012, average number of resident pupils attending daily was 2,167.69, compared with 2,201.87 in 2008. However, due to open enrollment, the number of students attending Delano Schools has increased slightly each year.

During the 2012 budget year, Delano Public Schools received $2,250,351 from local property taxes, $16,426,846 from state sources and $1,342,431 from other sources — bringing total revenues to $20,019,628. Auditor Mayer said revenues have been “flat” since 2008, when they amounted to $19,374,485.

Approximately 70 percent of the $20,084,573 in General Fund expenditures is “hitting the classroom,” he said. Fifty-three percent is going to regular instruction, two percent to vocational instruction, and 12 percent to special education instruction. Another 10 percent is going to pupil support services.



The School Board unanimously approved a request from German teacher Jane Askoy and her students to go to Germany from March 22 through April 1, 2013.

While in Germany, students would spend two days in Berlin, six days with a German family and a final day in Berlin. So far, 12 students in German 3 and German 4 classes have said they would like to visit Germany — the largest amount of student interest in recent years. Students have been raising money to pay for the trip.



Delano High School Principal Steve Heil warned that no parking restrictions in front of the school soon would be strictly enforced. As of Feb. 1, any cars parked in fire lanes will be ticketed and/or towed.

Recently, it took four administrators to clear a path for an ambulance to get to the school during an emergency.



Superintendent of Schools Matt Schoen said area legislators have been invited to attend a legislative forum for Wright County districts and cities set for 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 3 at the Discovery Center in Buffalo.

Delano City Administrator Phil Kern will speak at the forum.



Due to the approaching holidays, the School Board has shifted its regular meeting to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at the Delano High School media center.