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UCS earns praise for clean 2011-2012 audit after adopting higher reporting standards

UCS issues Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Utica Community Schools continued to earn strong grades under a more rigorous
financial reporting process adopted by the district, according to external
auditors.

Representatives of Plante & Moran noted that the 2011-2012 audit again
demonstrated that the district meets a high level of fiscal accountability with
the greater reporting standards, called a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
(CAFR).

“We have issued an unqualified opinion, which, if I was 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 its work to dedicate resources toward student achievement.”

The CAFR reporting process follows guidelines established by the Governmental
Accounting Standards Board, a private, non-governmental organization that
promotes standards that promote greater levels of reliability and use for
financial reports.

The 2011-2012 audit reported overall revenue levels of $263.5 million and
included a $470 permanent reduction in per pupil aid from the State of
Michigan. 

Included in the revenue is nearly $14 million in one-time only funding
sources through budget transfers and use of federal EdjuJobs funding. Auditors
noted that these sources will not be available in future years and recommended
caution as the district begins making plans for the 2013-2014 budget.

Expenditures for the district were $253.7 million, an overall decrease from
the previous school year and under the originally adopted budget.  Auditors
commended the Board of Education for its efforts to reduce health care costs.
The auditors noted, however, that these savings were offset by an increase in
state-mandated retirement increases, an area of the budget over which the
district does not have any control.

Auditors noted that overall benefit expenditures were consistent with prior
years, however, as a result of increases in state-mandated retirement costs.

The audit also reported an increase in the percentage of the overall budget
classified as classroom and school level expenditures.  Auditors noted that
Utica Community Schools continues to have a higher percentage of instructional
funding in comparison to like school districts.

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