Audit finds Tecumseh Public Schools finances in good shape
Tecumseh Public Schools received a favorable audit report from Brian Nofzinger representing the accounting firm of Gross, Puckey, Gruel, and Roof at Monday night’s regular school board meeting.Nofzinger told the trustees that the district’s accounting practices and financial situation rated an “unqualified opinion” from the accountants who combed through the schools’ ledgers. “Unqualified” is the highest rating possible, meaning that there were no errors or discrepancies to report.“You have made wise business decisions,” Nofzinger said. “As you know, you have increased your fund equity over the prior year.” The governmental funds reported a combined fund balance of $4,163,943, he said, which is an increase of $680,790 from last year’s combined fund balance. The primary reason for the increases is the planned reduction of general fund expenses. In the general fund, which is the principal operating fund, the balance increased by $688,671 to $3,523,832.Total revenues for the district were $28,622,876 and total expenditures were $28,553,267.Supt. Mike McAran pointed out that the increase in the fund equity, which is a “rainy day” fund for emergencies such as boiler repair and parking lot repaving, was accomplished in spite of a decline in student enrollment and state aid in recent years. “We don’t even know how much state aid we will receive until a quarter to a third of the way into the school year,” he said.Tecumseh schools receive $6,846, per pupil, in state aid with a possible addition of $52 per student if the district achieves the state benchmarks for best practices.Board President Ed Tritt was pleased with the report. “We got our act together,” he said, referring to the difficult financial straits that TPS and other public schools found themselves in during the recession. He said that much of the credit for the careful bookkeeping goes to Judy Pfund, the district’s financial manager.At a later conference, McAran said that the audit cost the district $14,000, but this year a total audit was required by the state instead of spot audits that are allowed in some years. McAran will now send the audit to the state for officials there to review and approve. The audit will be available on the TPS website, www.tps.-k12.mi.us following the state’s examination.“Overall, the state has cut our revenue by $2,500,000 over the past couple of years,” McAran said, “but not one program has been cut. We’ve had to make some painful cuts and decisions like privatization, but the education of the students has to come first.”In other board news:McAran reported on the progress that is being made in reaching an agreement with the drilling companies that are interested in the mineral rights to oil and gas on the Sutton Elementary School property. Two companies, Kosco and Savoy, have approached the district administration about the mineral rights under Sutton, which is part of what they have determined to be a large reserve under several properties around the school. The district will receive a percentage of the revenue if minerals are found.“They tell us there is a lot of oil between here and Adrian,” McAran said. The minerals will be accessed by drilling from a location other that school property with drill bits that are capable of drilling at a slant and horizontally.McAran said that the tentative lease was generally agreeable but questions remained that would need to be answered before the district signed the contract. “We want to know who will be doing the drilling, for one thing,” he said.Approval of the board for the lease had been scheduled as an action item, but the board agreed that all issues should be resolved before it is put to a vote.