Onamia School Superintendent JJ Vold

The Onamia School Board received an independent audit report during their regularly scheduled meeting Jan. 21 that said the district saw a revenue increase of $207,000 but was 2.8 percent over budget.

The audit was done by BergenKDV, a professional services firm, to present an unmodified opinion on the district’s financial statements.

“Overall we were pleased with the FY19 Audit results. Our Finance Committee has worked very hard to balance our budgets after several years of trending in the negative,” Onamia School District Superintendent JJ Vold wrote via email.

Vold said he was pleased with the final FY19 balance being roughly $207,000 in the positive.

“In addition, we have achieved this positive financial outcome without jeopardizing our high quality educational programming for our students,” Vold wrote. “Which is important to us as we believe in allocating as many dollars as possible directly to our classrooms.”

BergenKDV Audit Manager Caroline Stutsman, who presented the report to the board, said the district could improve on several processes but that the district’s biggest concern was the Community Service Fund balance deficit position.

The district has cut back on expenditures in the fund from over $74,000 in 2015 to just over $11,000 in 2019. 2018 saw a profit of just under $14,000 for the fund.

“The one bright thing is that we are tightening up a little bit but the other side to it is, as a district, we really need to figure it out where we’re spending that and how we’re spending it,” Onamia School Board Chair Virgil Wind said.

Wind said the district has a plan to see exactly where the money is being spent.

Wind wrote in an email to the Mille Lacs Messenger that the budget surplus wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and dedication of district employees and the rest of the Onamia School Board.

“We do have a very complex and difficult budget to balance as a smaller school district with high needs. However, we are efficient with our spending, we allocate our spending to the classrooms and we apply for as many alternative revenue sources for the district as we possibly can,” Vold wrote via email.


• The board approved the renewal of policies: Development and maintenance of an inventory of fixed assets and fixed asset accounting system, compliance for title VIII and impact aid Indian policies and procedures and student activity accounting.

• Jennifer Cluka received this month’s Panther Spirit Recognition award.

• The next board meeting will be Feb. 18 at 6 p.m.

• K-12 saw a decrease of 358 excused absences the first four months of school compared to last school year and 61 less unexcused absences compared to the first four months of school last year.

• The district received a donation of two pallets of school supplies for the district from “Kids in Need.” The supplies included backpacks, notebooks, pens, pencils, scissors, markers, books, colored pencils, and glue sticks.

• The Mille Lacs Academy is piloting a new online curriculum, Apex, for the spring semester. Apex is a fully digital curriculum. Students at MLA can take courses with Apex to earn credit recovery, take electives not otherwise offered at MLA, or have differentiated and modified curriculum.

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