District gets positive audit report despite setback

Despite a setback which occurred during the auditing process, Yeo & Yeo CPAs & Business Consultants, a Saginaw-based firm, presented a mostly positive report to the Oxford Board of Education at its Oct. 24 meeting.

The audit covered the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2017.

The district was given an ‘unmodified opinion’ by the auditing firm, which showed the district had no material weaknesses, no significant deficiencies, and no questioned costs.

“It’s really important to understand that that’s a good thing,” said CPA Jacob Sopczynski, of Yeo & Yeo, who presented the audit report. “The district passed and it’s the highest level of assurance we can give.”

The fund balance for the general fund was $8.5 million as of June 30— showing a slight increase from last year’s balance.

Sopczynski said this fund balance was considered to be “healthy,” adding that it fell within the “15 to 20 percent of budget” range recommended for school districts.

According to the report, $56.1 million in revenue was brought into the district.

Of that amount, $46 million (82 percent) came from the state, $6.4 million (11 percent) came from local taxes, $2 million (4 percent) came from interdistrict sources, $1.5 million (3 percent) came from the federal level, and $82,500 (less than 1 percent) came from transfers.

On the expenditure side, the district spent $55.4 million, less than it took in.

As a result, the fund balance grew by nearly $800,000.

Instruction accounted for the largest portion of district expenditures at $33.8 million (61 percent). Other expenditures were supporting services at $19.3 million (35 percent), $1.3 million (2 percent) for capital investment, $487,000 for transfers out (1 percent), $295,633 (1 percent) for debt services and $16,389 (less than 1 percent) for community services.

As of June 2017, the district had an enrollment count of over 5,800 full-time equivalent students– which showed an increase of over 200 compared to the previous year.

“This is pretty unique in the state of Michigan to see student counts going up like this,” said Sopczynski. “It means you’re doing something right here in Oxford. (The district seems) to have continued to grow thanks to the special programs (it) offers, like the Oxford Virtual Academy program and others.”

To further strengthen the district’s financial standing, Yeo & Yeo recommended the district improve its budgeting process.

While district budgets showed a 100 percent accuracy rate on the revenue side, there was a 99.5 percent accuracy rate shown on the expenditure side of the budget— a rate which could be improved, according to Sopczynski.

“When we evaluate the budget, some line items were over budget, some were under budget. Overall, (the district was) within an acceptable range but those functions in the budget need a little bit of tweaking and a little bit of advancement when it comes to the budgeting process,” Sopczynski said to the board.

Sopczynski also recommended that the district improve its timeliness of reporting and reconciliations during the auditing process—as the district had failed to provide necessary materials by one of the firm’s deadlines.

“(Yeo & Yeo) sets schedules for each district about a year ahead of time,” he said. “When we came out to do some scheduled preliminary work in June or July, there were some reconciliation things that weren’t done… That hurts us and that hurts the team here, too… It’s a matter of being prepared while we’re here… There were also additional costs having to come back a second time.”

According to Sopczynski, the firm incurs a 25 percent fee onto the district’s bill when there is a delay or rescheduling required during the auditing process caused by the district.

“If we know a year in advance about when something is due, how do we miss that big of a target,” Trustee Tom Donnelly asked.

President Dan D’Alessandro responded that he and Superintendent Tim Throne will look into what caused delays on the part of the district during the audit process and will set a plan in motion to prevent future setbacks.

 

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