11/27/2013 9:01:00 AM Audit shows CF district in good financial shape
by Nora Bryson
The Cannon Falls School Board did a lot of listening at its Monday night, Nov. 25 meeting. They reviewed audit results, heard about Report Card changes and the need for a PLC (Professional Learning Communities) Consultant and Faculty Facilitators, were updated on the district's technology purchases, and listened to a facilities recommendation for the Goodhue County Education District.
In addition, the board approved a stipend for the PLC facilitators, the establishment of a trap shooting team, the Dorothy (Remme) Knoblauch scholarship, a full-time (FT) custodian position and the list of Spring Head Coaches, and first reading of revised policies 208 (Development, Adoption, and Implementation of Policies) and 516 (Student Medications).
Matt Voss of Abdo, Eick, and Meyers, gave a "Cliff Notes" overview of both audits (having received more than $500,000 in Federal funds, the district was required to undergo a "single audit"). In each area (Internal Controls, Quantitative Aspects, Revenues, Support Services), Voss made it clear that "everything is in compliance" and there "were no material weaknesses."
Of the three items noted in Internal Controls, two (removing staff signatures when they leave employment and preparation of financial statements) were carried over from last year and items that "all districts seem to struggle with." The third item was a one-time adjustment of more than $60,000; easily understandable given all the changes in State funding in the past year. He noted the budget variances in State ($90,000) and Federal ($105,000) funding, but said they were not significant because they amounted to less than 5% of their $10 million budget. Much of the Federal variance was due to FEMA payments for storm damage.
Voss praised the Board for improving their Fund Balance by 58% to the $660,000 goal they had sought to achieve for years. "All funds have adequate Fund Balance Reserves," he stated emphatically. He pointed out the substantial saving the district will see by not having to take out Aid Anticipation Bonds.
Voss warned the Board of next year's changes in paras and TRA (Teacher Retirement Association) accounting standards and the extra reserve requirements that will be necessary.
Superintendent Beth Giese gave a Technology update. The Education Foundation has purchased 60 mini iPads for students and 36 regular iPads for teachers at the Elementary. The rest of the $500,000 project has already been included in the budget which the Board passed, so future purchases will not be coming through for approval because the project as a whole was approved when the budget was approved.
Cheryl Johnson and Jackie Paradis from the Goodhue County Education District gave a facilities update. The Ed District is out of space again; even with their four buildings. Deferred maintenance and remodeling costs have been estimated at $6.8 to $10.8 million plus it will cost $17.65 million just to stay "where they are." Transportation costs are hurting them. They would like to build one site that could handle all their clients. Springsted was hired to study the matter in June. While costs seem to be comparable between the Wastedo site ($14.8 million) and one closed to Red Wing High School ($14.24 million), the advantage has been given to the Red Wing site due to estimated operational costs in the long run.
The Cannon Falls School District stands to lose $30,000 in lease fees if the Ed District moves out of the CCC, but Johnson said they would recoup that in lower monthly student services fees.
Johnson said that while they are not required by law to get member district approval, they were trying to work with each district to get input and buy-in. Current levy estimates for Cannon Falls show a tax increase of $14 to $16 on a home valued at $125,000. The Ed District Board will vote December 19 on what to do. They plan to report back to members in January.
On the business side, the Board approved the addition of a trap shooting team. Stub Noble spoke about existing programs in surrounding districts. While not yet part of the Minnesota State High School League, it has become extremely popular and very competitive. There are lots of meets close to home. Everything is done off-campus at a safe, licensed shooting sports facility. Parents are responsible for transportation. The cost is estimated to be $235/student. Community Education and Athletic Director Jake Winchell will get information out to the student body as soon as possible.
The Board accepted the $1,000 Dorothy (Remme) Knoblauch teaching scholarship for graduating seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The scholarship will run for 10 years starting in 2014.
Bruce Rademacher was hired as a FT custodian. Spring Head coaches are: Baseball-Bucky Lindow; Golf-Lee Gisvold; Boys Track-Ben Schopp; Girls Track-Brett Zimmerman; and Softball-Mike Gunderson. The High School Cashier will be moved into the District Office to help with receptionist duties.
The proposed change to Policy 208 is the requirement that the board review all policies every three years. Proposed changes to Policy 516 have to do with legislative changes regarding the use of Epi Pens.
The next meeting will be Monday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. Agenda items include: Truth in Taxation hearing, approval of final levy certification, and a presentation by Trusted Employees regarding their background-checking services.