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Income up, costs down: Detroit Lakes Schools on budget

Once again, the Detroit Lakes School District has earned the praise of independent auditors hired to conduct the annual school financial audit.

Representatives from the firm of Kern-DeWenter-Viere gave a presentation on the 2005-06 school audit at the DL School Board's November meeting.

At the meeting, held Nov. 13, the KDV representatives noted that DL had been "very proactive" in making sure district expenditures did not exceed revenues, by making adjustments for declining enrollment.

"Your expenditures have remained very consistent over the last four years," they said.

Key financial highlights of the audit included the following:

• Net assets increased by 8.8 percent over the previous year.

• Overall revenues were $26 million, an increase of .9 percent, while expenditures were $24.9 million, a decrease of 1.5 percent.

• Overall, the district was quite accurate in its variance between budgeted and actual revenue and expenditures. The district's actual revenue was $667,936, or 2.61 percent over budget, while actual expenditures were $22,400, or .09 percent over budget.

• The General Fund balance increased $927,377 overall ($688,380 unreserved and $238,997 reserved), for two primary reasons: Board-approved cost containments and revenue growth -- the latter due primarily to an increase in state funding, interest income from investments and additional special education medical assistance revenue.

According to Ted Heisserer, district business manager, the overall results of the audit were quite positive for DL, though there is always room for improvement.

For instance: "The district has about six weeks of reserves on hand, while they (state auditors) recommend reserves of 3-6 months," he said.

The board unanimously approved the audit report at Monday's meeting.

In other business, the board:

Renewed the district's property/liability insurance policy with the Minnesota School Boards Association Trust. The overall premium of $103,550 reflects a decrease of $19,611, or 15.9 percent, from the previous year.

n Approved a motion authorizing the acting superintendent and business manager to begin considering recommendations for potential reductions in programs and positions to balance the 2007-08 district budget.

Based on current enrollment projections and the assumption of no increases in state aid, Heisserer and Acting Superintendent Lowell Niklaus believe that "some cost containments" will be necessary, Niklaus said.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454