District receives clean audit for 2015-16 finances
District receives clean audit for 2015-16 finances
Posted on 12/01/2016

Independent auditing firm Malloy, Montague, Karnowski, Radosevich & Co., PA, (MMKR) has given School District 197 a “clean opinion” of its finances for 2015-16.

James Eichten of MMKR presented the 2015-16 Audit Report at a meeting of the School Board on November 21. Overall, MMKR has issued a “clean opinion” — the highest rating an auditor can give — on the district’s basic financial statements, citing good record keeping and financial accounting. The district has received the same rating for several years in a row.

“The financial [audit] results reflect adherence to the budget,” Eichten said. “The district is in a stable financial position, if not growing and improving each and every year. I want to point out that the district’s audit went very well, and we continue to find the financial record keeping to be excellent on an annual basis.”

The audit showed that the district’s unassigned fund balance decreased slightly since 2014-15. The decrease was partly due to the district’s planned contribution to the renovation of the John V. Hoene Ice Arena in West St. Paul, a joint effort between the district and the cities of West St. Paul and Mendota Heights. 

The district has focused on building its fund balance for the past few years. Maintaining a conservative fund balance adds to the overall financial stability of the district, is an indication of prudent spending, and allows for better long-range planning. In 2014-15 the fund balance was one of the factors that contributed to an increase in the district’s bond rating from ‘A+’ to ‘AA-,’ which can lead to lower interest rates on debt and, in turn, a savings to taxpayers. Increases in enrollment and state funding have assisted in growing the fund balance in recent years.

The report given at the board meeting also showed the district’s per pupil general fund expenses to be at $11,530 in 2015. This is inline with the average expenditures of other school districts in the seven country metro area of $11,511 for 2015.

Per student administration and district support costs in District 197 are low at $691 in comparison to other metro districts who were at $951 in 2015. Overall per pupil general fund expenses remain comparable, in part, due to the district allocating more dollars to the classroom for instructional support services, however. District 197 was at $950 in 2015. The seven county metro area average in 2015 was $689.

The full audit report is available on the district’s website at http://www.isd197.org/district/finance