Buchanan school district reports surplusPublished 9:08am Wednesday, October 16, 2013
By DEBRA HAIGHT
BUCHANAN — The Buchanan school district looks to be in good financial shape, auditor Mike Layher reported Monday to Buchanan School Board members. What had been anticipated to be a deficit at the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year ended up being a surplus.
Layher told board members that general fund revenue ended up at $14.136 million rather than the last budgeted number of nearly $14.3 million. While the actual number turned out to be lower, so did the expenditures actual number. Expenditures were budgeted to be $14.68 million and ended up being $13.99 million.
He said his firm’s audit of the district’s books showed that the district ended up with a $142,534 surplus in the general fund instead of a projected $380,667 deficit. “That’s a $525,000 swing from where you expected to be,” he said. “That’s a good positive thing.”
The district’s fund balance at the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year on June 30 was at $3.8 million which represents 27 percent of total expenditures, he said. He noted that the board’s policy requires the district to maintain a fund balance of 15 percent of expenditures.
Layher added that the district has been able to keep the fund balance at 20 percent or more of total expenditures for each of the last five years. His firm’s full audit-as well as all audits of public school districts-can be found on the Michigan Department of Education and Michigan Department of Treasury websites.
While Superintendent Andrea van der Laan said she’s glad to know that the district has more money than originally thought, she urged caution in getting too excited by the news. She noted that the district has expenses coming up with the purchase of new math curriculum materials and doing repairs last year’s bond issue won’t cover.
“We still have to watch our funds carefully,” she said. “The staff has to have the instructional support they need and buildings still need to be maintained.”
In other news at Monday night’s board meeting, members learned that the high school will be getting a larger state grant than they applied for. High School Principal Sharon Steinke said the high school applied for a $44,000 grant and ended up getting a $144,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Education because they liked it so much.
Steinke said the purpose of the grant is to find ways to integrate career technical education (CTE) credits into the Michigan Merit curriculum so that the CTE credits show up properly on a student’s transcript. “If a student takes a construction trades class, how can the math and science he learns be shown on the transcript?” she said. “We thought we’d work with PowerSchool to do that.”
She said the state liked their plans so much that they’re giving the high school more money so that it can share what they develop with other school districts around the state. “It will be a lot of work, but we’re excited,” she said.