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WDC school board chews over audit report draft

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WDC school board chews over audit report draft
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson 56482

The Wadena-Deer Creek school board had financial matters to chew on Monday as they held their last meeting before Thanksgiving.

Randy Highland of Carlson-Highland presented the board with a draft of the audit report which noted a substantial rise in the district's fund balance over the last two years.

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District 2155 voters went to the polls in November 2009 and voted for a substantial levy referendum increase. Seven months later an EF4 tornado destroyed the WDC High School and that fall the district realized an insurance settlement of more than $40 million. The insurance funds have been dedicated to building and equipping a new secondary school as well as replacing other school facilities.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dollars to the tune of $1,813,000 have also helped the district recover losses due to the tornado.

Highland's report noted that the district has pulled itself from a precarious financial situation over the last five years.

"The general fund for 2010 was $821,000 and you had an increase in assigned fund balance (for the purpose of replacement of items other than the structure itself) of over $3 million which brings it up to $6 million fund balance," Highland said.

Since June 30, 2007, the district's unreserved fund balance has climbed from $2,157 to $2,499,000. The district has a 17.8 percent unreserved fund balance.

The Government Finance Office Association recommends 16.6 (or about two months) and the Minnesota State Auditor's Office recommends that 35-50 percent of a district's credit should be held in operating expenses.

Highland recommended that District 2155 should be somewhere between the two recommended reserves.

WDC Business Manager Jerry Anderson said that the insurance payments have distorted the district's financial picture. Anderson went on to point out that the levy referendum is the real catalyst for the district's greatly improved financial situation.

"We are in a very sound financial situation now," Anderson said.

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Brian Hansel
(218) 631-2561
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