Utica Community Schools earned top grades for an audit that continued adherence to a new, rigorous reporting process that demonstrated an overall decrease in spending, according to external auditors.
Representatives of Plante & Moran noted that the 2012-2013 audit again demonstrated that the district meets a high level of fiscal accountability through the rigorous national standards, called a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).
“We have issued an unqualified opinion, which, if I were speaking in educational terms, means you have earned an A plus,” said Donna Hanson, CPA and partner in the auditing firm of Plante & Moran. “The Board of Education and administration should be commended for their overall management of district finances and their work to dedicate resources toward student achievement.”
For the second straight year, the district has followed the CAFR reporting process with guidelines established by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, a private, non-governmental organization that developed standards to promote greater levels of reliability and use for financial reports.
The reporting process resulted in Utica Community Schools being awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting award from the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO).
“The unqualified audit demonstrates again the Board of Education’s continued commitment to fiscal responsibility and transparency in financial reporting to our community,” Board of Education Vice President Gene Klida said.
The 2012-2013 audit reported overall revenue levels of $248.8 million, a reduction of $14.7 million from the previous fiscal year. The reported revenue level included reductions of more than $13 million in one-time only funding sources through budget transfers and use of federal EdjuJobs funding.
Expenditures for the district were $252.8 million, a nearly $1 million decrease from the previous school year and under the originally adopted budget.
“Our district continues to make difficult financial decisions that address our economic realities and protect our classrooms,” Treasurer Dr. Robert Ross said. “We will need to continue to use this strategy as we work to ensure our expenditures are in line with our available revenue.”
The audit also reported an increase in the percentage of the overall budget classified as classroom and school level expenditures from 78-80 percent of the total budget. Auditors noted that Utica Community Schools continues to have a higher percentage of instructional funding in comparison to like school districts.
A complete copy of the audit and a video presentation are available on the district’s Web site at uticak12.org.
Source: Utica Community Schools