School audit:Fund balance climbs with COVID funds

By David Fleet
Goodrich-By a 7-0 vote on Monday night the school board of trustees accepted an audit from Lewis & Knopf for the 2020-2021 fiscal year ending June 30. The audit was presented by principal Jeffrey Sabolish.
The district ended the 2020-21 fiscal year with a general fund balance of 18 percent or $3,781,456 up from $2,593,476 a 45 percent increase from the 2019-20 fiscal year.
“There are a lot of additional funds that came through the district and just about every district (statewide),” said Sabolish. “The funds were for corona relief.”
The state average for general fund balance is about 15-20 percent, a range for districts about the same size as Goodrich, about two to three months of expenditures.
The district added to the fund balance by $1,187,980 the seventh consecutive year of increases to the schools coffers. The district fund balance has rallied from a low of $1,336,529 in the 2013-14 school year.
“The district received a ‘Clean Unmodified’ audit opinion, the highest level of assurance possible for the district’s financial’,” said Sabolish. “What this means is the financial statements prepared by the district are very representative of the year.”
The hike in fund balance is critical for school districts like Goodrich following the adoption of Public Act 109 signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2015 as part of the state’s early warning legislation. The act amends the Revised School Code to require any district without a positive general fund balance of at least 5 percent for the two most recent school fiscal years to report annually by July 7 of each year the budgetary assumptions used when adopting its annual budget to the Center for Educational Performance and Information. Based on the report, the state treasurer may determine if the potential for fiscal stress exists within the district.
The 2020-21 general fund revenues for the district were $22,048,018 up from $20,581,628 an increase of $1,466,390.
The 2020-21 general fund expenditures for the district increased to $20,860,038 up from $20,549,585 an increase of $310,453.
“The 74 percent for salaries and benefits is pretty typical for districts around Genesee County of your size,” said Sabolish.
According to the audit, 63 percent of all expenditures are spent on instruction of the students. The state average is about 65 percent. About 36 are support services. A total of 43 percent of the district’s funds are spent on salaries with 31 percent on benefits for a total of 74 percent.

The state average is 80 to 90 percent for payroll.
Student count dipped slightly in 2020-21 to 2,091 down from 2,115 in the 2019-20 school year.
The board of trustees had revenues budgeted of $22.14 million and actual was $22.05 million a variance of $96,000 under budget. Similarly, the board budgeted expenditures of $21.18 million and actual was $20.86 million a variance of $316,000 under budget.

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