Stillwater Area Schools audit clean, concerns about food service fund

Independent School District 834 reported a clean audit for the 2012-2013 school year at its evening meeting on Nov. 14 but noted that some adjustments may have to be made to the food service fund.

According to Aaron Nielsen of MMKR, Certified Public Accountants, over the last three years the district has seen a decrease in its state funding that has been in line with the approved budget. The district’s budget remains just below the statewide average for funding but has seen an increase of about 1 percent in the amount of money it receives per student from the state and federal governments, he said.

“In summary, the tax shift that happened didn’t get you much more money,” Nielsen said.

The decline in students in the district has also impacted funding.

Nielsen added that the portion of the budget funded by the government with the biggest increase did in fact go to elementary and secondary instruction.

• General fund revenues accounted for $87.1 million and was funded primarily with state sources at 73 percent.

• General fund spending was marked at $90 million with the actual expenditures at 2.7 percent under budgeted amounts with 76 percent of that money going towards the classrooms and educating students.

• The food service budget stood at $4 million. Neilsen said the food service fund is going to need to be addressed because the fund is decreasing and issues could arise with funding by next summer.

“The district is aware of this issue and has decided that this is something they’ll address going forward,” Nielsen said.

The board discussed the issue at its board workshop earlier in the afternoon. The district says reason the food service fund is spending more is because the district is trying to get healthier food to students.

“Food service at the end of (Fiscal Year 2014) wouldn’t have a fund balance,” Director of Finance Kristen Hoheisel said. “The decline in the fund balance is due to the cost of healthy food. We haven’t raised prices for a while, and part of (the decline) is that kids don’t want to eat carrots. This naturally means that there will have to be a conversation.”

Possible solutions mentioned were increasing lunch prices, finding ways to cut costs or looking into a partnership with the PowerUP program to get food cheaper. Superintendent Corey Lunn said a partnership with Mahtomedi schools may need to be reevaluated.

• The Community Service fund ended better than projected, down 11.4 percent.

Overall, Nielsen said, the district’s total net position increased by $4.4 million.


Contact Avery Cropp at [email protected]