Mt. Vernon Register-News

October 18, 2013

MVTHS gets clean audit report

By TRAVIS MORSE travis.morse@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — Mt. Vernon Township High School’s annual audit for fiscal year 2013 uncovered no serious negative findings, said auditor Jim Leuty of Krehbiel & Associates.

“We issue an opinion that it’s a clean audit on the cash basis of accounting,” Leuty said.

Leuty presented the audit’s findings at a meeting Tuesday of the MVTHS Board of Education’s Finance Committee.

For fiscal year 2013, which ended June 30, the district earned an overall financial profile score of 3.15, down from last year’s 3.45. A perfect score would be 4.0.

The drop in the district’s score is mainly due to MVTHS taking on additional long-term debt to fund the new school project, Leuty said.

Leuty explained there are four financial categories established by the Illinois State Board of Education for school districts, with the highest being “financial recognition.”

MVTHS is in the “financial review” category, which is the one just below the top designation.

Being in this category means a district’s finances may be open for review by ISBE to determine if there are any “negative trends” developing, Leuty said.

“Of course, (ISBE) is always available for counsel, but they might at that point review a district and look at the district from there to see

if there’s any negative trends, like if they’re starting a negative trend downward,” Leuty said. “Then it’s their way of identifying a problem early on.”

MVTHS has been in the financial review category for the last few years.

During his report Tuesday, Leuty pointed out two minor procedural problems with the district’s accounting.

One had to do with the formality of whose name is listed on bonding documents.

The district had Superintendent Michael Smith and Finance Director Angie Brentlinger on the documents, which is incorrect. Instead, it should have been the treasurer’s name.

The other problem had to do with errors on some expenditure reports because estimates were used instead of actual numbers.

Both of these issues, however, have been addressed, Leuty said.

In addition, Leuty recommended the district consider hiring an assistant for Brentlinger at least on a temporary basis to avoid an “employee burnout.” Preparations for the new school project have added to Brentlinger’s duties, Leuty said.

“There’s so much on her plate,” Leuty said.

As part of his report, Leuty also discussed budget figures related to MVTHS.

The district had overall revenues of roughly $11.1 million in fiscal year 2013, an increase of $63,801 over the previous year, Leuty said.

The overall expenditures for 2013 totaled about $20.2 million, compared to $13.9 million the prior year. Much of this increase is attributable to debt retirement, as well as land costs for the new school project, Leuty said.

Also in 2013, the district had an estimated operating expense per student per capita of $10,427. This is an increase over the prior year’s total of $10,145.

Furthermore, MVTHS had an average daily attendance in fiscal year 2013 of 1,015, up from the previous year’s average of 1,007.

The district does have a challenging budget year ahead. In September, the MVTHS Board adopted a fiscal year 2014 budget with a projected deficit of $270,309.

Still, Smith said he’s pleased with the district’s current financial standing and how MVTHS has been able to upgrade programs and technology during “tough economic times.”

“We’re trending up,” Smith said. “Our fund balances are maintaining.”