Good news, with an asteriskRed Wing School Board
The district's reserve account has never looked so good. But don't expect the good times to last, an auditor told Red Wing School Board members Monday.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
The district's reserve account has never looked so good.
But don't expect the good times to last, an auditor told Red Wing School Board members Monday.
District officials pointed to a combination of accounting changes and spending reductions for the highest reserve total in more than a decade.
The district has $1.39 million in its unreserved general fund balance - the fund scrutinized by auditors in gauging financial health.
"It's good news, but we've got to temper it to the future outlook," district Finance Director Brad Johnson said.
Doug Blanshan, a representative of the audit firm Larson Allen, braced School Board members for "pretty treacherous times," with state education finance dollars predicted to continue dwindling.
Still, he commended the district for instituting budgeting changes in recent years. After spending five of the last nine years in statutory operating debt - a state designation for districts with unacceptable reserves - Red Wing emerged this year.
"The district's come a long way," Blanshan said.
According to a memo from Johnson, adoption of new accounting practices allowed the unreserved account to absorb $559,626 - dollars that previously were dedicated to paying out retiree health benefits.
The unreserved fund also was boosted by a one-time move of operating capital, a shift authorized by the state. The shift added $170,543 to the unreserved account.
The account now represents 6 percent of the district's overall coffers - the best it's been in recorded history, Johnson said.
But he holds no illusions that school funding is on the upswing.
Blanshan made that much clear, noting that Red Wing stands to lose $73 per-pupil next year from the state, totaling a $240,000 revenue decline.
Johnson said he anticipates the district borrowing money again in 2010 to make ends meet.