Auditors: School district numbers make sense

By on November 30, 2016

It counts!

It’s another year and another clean audit report for the Cocalico School District.

The school board Monday night formally accepted the audit from Trout, Ebersole and Groff, LLP. Accountant Carol Roland reported on her firm’s unmodified opinion, which means the district doesn’t have to respond to any inquiries or report any additional information for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016.

But Roland pointed out that the district leans predominantly on its local revenues for funding, a situation that can be problematic in an economic downturn.

“You can see the burden rests on your local taxpayers,” Roland said, noting less than 10 percent of the district’s 2016 expenses were paid by grants or program fees.

The remainder is covered by local sources including the state’s basic education subsidy and real estate taxes. Roland said the district had managed to outperform its budgeted revenues last year, largely because new collection and distribution rules at the county tax collection bureau made it hard to estimate that income.

She also pointed to positives such as reduced salary and benefit costs, as well as a strong performance from the district’s food service unit. Many districts saw their cafeteria funds shrink as the federal government instituted new nutritional rules.

Because of its past performances, the district also has earned a low-risk designation and now needs a lower portion of its federal dollars audited.

“It’s always good news when we hear words like ‘clean report’ and ‘no findings,’ “ Superintendent Dr. Ella Musser said.

In other action, the board approved $121,559 in capital project funding, including nearly $88,000 for new roofing at Reamstown Elementary School and $16,295 for new wrestling mats at the middle school.

The board also agreed to work with AEM architects on the design of a partial roof replacement at Denver Elementary School at a cost of 5.75 percent of the project’s $220,000 cost. AEM will also lead the redesign of the high school guidance suite at an hourly rate not to exceed $30,000; that project is estimated at $300,000.

Musser also reported that a district wide test of water sources showed that all sites were under the allowable threshold for lead.

The board reorganizes Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

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