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Audit report shows LP-A district finances in good shape

The finances of the Lake Park-Audubon School District are looking good this year, according to the results of the 2015 district audit presented by Andrew Adams of Eide Bailly at Monday night's school board meeting in Lake Park.

"The auditors provided a 'clean' audit opinion," said LP-A Superintendent Dale Hogie after the meeting.

"According to the Eide Bailly report that means 'the financial statements have been prepared using accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, do not contain material misstatements, and are fairly represented.'"

As of June 30, the end of fiscal year 2015, the district's general fund had a positive balance of $1,039,962, "which is $42,674 higher than the previous year's balance," Hogie continued. "Of that amount, $533,030 is considered 'unassigned.' That means it is available to any use. The remaining $506,932 is reserved for other, specific expenditure categories." Also at Monday night's meeting, the board ratified master contract agreements with the superintendent and the district's two principals.

Hogie's new three-year contract will give him a 3 percent salary increase for the first year, and an additional 2 percent for each of the following two years. He will also get a $250 increase in health insurance, though this is offset by the elimination of a stipend he had received for cell phone usage.

The new principals' master contract for 2016-18 , meanwhile, included a change to make the cell phone stipend of $50 per month an optional benefit, according to the individual principal's preference. In addition, new language was added to the contract that permits an eligible and retiring principal to take their retirement payment as an investment into a Health Care Savings Plan (HCSP), rather than as a cash payment.

Changes to salary, benefits and other contract items were negotiated previously, when Elementary Principal Sam Skaaland retired last year and was rehired under a new, one-year agreement, and when High School Principal Mary Merchant was hired this past summer.

An amendment to the school's new weapons policy was also approved at the meeting.

"The weapons policy now permits immediate in-school suspension rather than immediate out-of-school suspension (when a violation is being investigated)," Hogie said. "Previously, law enforcement was to be notified immediately. Now police will only be notified if the weapon possession constitutes a threat to the student or others."

The board also approved up to $1,500 in district support each year for the elementary school musical, and up to $1,500 in annual support for high school drama activities, to be paid for from the district's general fund.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

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