The once-a-year audit of St. Michael-Albertville Schools showed that the school district received an “unqualified opinion,” meaning it’s the best opinion an auditor can issue.
The board also reached a decision regarding a daycare provider’s request to end the district’s Just4Kids program, and approved hiring weight room/fitness coaches.
The KDV auditing firm was present to review the annual district audit with the school board.
The audit indicates the school district has revenue of $42 million and expenditures of $41.9 million. The fund balance increased $277,000 to a yearend balance of $8.5 million.
School board policy directs STMA to have 1.5 months of operating expenditures on reserve, and the district ended up slighting greater than that at 1.7 months reserve.
“We need to grow that balance a little to keep up with expenditures,” Supt. Jim Behle later said.
The budget is based on a weighted average. The audit indicated that STMA’s total weighted average daily membership increased from 5,983 residents in 2011 to 6,203 in 2012.
The weighted average daily membership for students increased from 5,596 residents and 387 non-residents in 2011 to 5,771 residents and 432 non-residents in 2012, a 3.3 percent increase overall.
In breaking down the general fund expenditure allocation, the budget pie shows that STMA spent 65 percent on instruction and 10 percent on instructional support, meaning the school district spends 75 percent of its funds in the classroom (state average is 70 percent). Four percent goes to district and school administration. The rest goes to transportation and utilities.
STMA’s general fund revenue per average daily membership was $7,736, whereas the state average is $10,537. That particular statistic is a big source of concern to the district, Behle said.
“That just shows that the (state funding) formula is broken and we suffer,” he said. “But overall the audit was positive. There are a few things we have to look at, but nothing too significant.”
In further matters, the board considered a request by ABC Childcare owner Nancy Pelletier to end the district’s Just4Kids program that she says competes against private enterprise.
Pelletier was present. In discussing the matter, the board’s consensus was that its Just4Kids program fills a unique niche for 4.5-year-old children to get into the routine of going to school.
“The program is not competing for infants and other ages (just 4.5-year-olds) and families like the program because it’s school-like,” Supt. Behle said. “Plus there’s a curriculum piece.”
Behle also noted that other private enterprise has opened up, such as New Horizon Academy, as well as a St. Michael Catholic School program.
“If we closed our program 17 positions would be eliminated,” Behle added, noting that the program is self-funded and breaks even. “It’s a service to the community and it uses school facilities.”
The board unanimously agreed not to make a change to its Just4Kids program.
In other news, the board considered a request to hire two winter high school weight room/fitness coaches.
STMA coaches are making the request due to large participation and safety factors, such as preventing injuries. Such positions would be trained.
The board approved hiring two coaches with stipends between $1,500 and $1,800 a piece on a one-year basis.