At the Onamia School Board’s regular January meeting, held virtually on Tuesday, Jan. 19, the board heard a presentation on the audit for fiscal year 2019-2020. Presenting the audit was Caroline Stutsman, with BerganKDV. Stutsman’s presentation showed that state funding was down due to a decreased student count. Revenues and expenditures had both operated at a slight decrease, and the general fund overall had shown a slight loss. However, Superintendent JJ Vold noted that the district had appealed the decreased state funding, and the reimbursement had offset these funding losses.
Beginning her presentation, Stutsman noted that BerganKDV was giving an unmodified opinion, the highest level the district could receive, showing that the school’s financial statements were fairly stated in all material respects as of June 30, 2020.
Stutsman noted that, while state sources to the school’s general fund had been fairly consistent, this was because a 2% increase had off-set a decrease in the school’s pupil units. Stutsman highlighted the school’s average daily membership (ADM), which quantifies these pupil unit changes for the school. In total, ADM at Onamia has dropped slightly from 2019 to 2020, going from 823.31 to 818.54. This change accounted for both a decrease in the elementary, which dropped from 375.02 to 335.10, and an increase in the school’s secondary programming, which rose from 366.19 to 383.58.
After weighting factors were applied to these numbers, the overall decrease in resident pupil units at the school went down by roughly one pupil unit, from about 896 to 895. However, resident pupil units going elsewhere had increased, from about 317 to 324, while non-resident pupil units coming in went down. Total pupil units served had gone down, from about 648 to 625. These numbers included Onamia Academy (formerly Mille Lacs Academy), Stutsman said, and of the 23 unit decrease, about 17 came from the academy.
When these factors are applied to the general fund total for 2020, the revenue of the fund showed a slight decrease from the previous year, dropping from $11,381,524 to $11,380,898 for a difference of $626.
An overview of the whole general fund, from its budgeted to actual values, showed both revenue and expenditures came in under budget. Revenue was about $391,000 under budget, at $11,380,898, while expenditures were about $384,000 under budget, at $11,430,674. While the revised final budget for 2020 had projected a $43,000 decrease for the fund balance, the actual decrease for the fund balance had only come out to about $4,600. As of June 30, 2020, the total general fund balance for the school was at $1,229,406.
After the presentation on this data, Vold spoke briefly on this lost revenue stating that he and Onamia Academy principal Holly Booth were currently in the process of getting some of the lost pupil unit revenue reimbursed by the State. The school has since appealed and received $383,000. While there was still some processing of funds, Vold later told the Messenger that the school would see around 55% of these appeal dollars return to their general fund, and the overall fund balance for fiscal year 2020 would be up by around $150,000 once all was said and done.
Looking at the food service fund, Stutsman noted that both revenue and expenditures had increased due to the summer meals program that had been in place. The fund had ended the year at $46,271, which was down from $85,442 the previous year. Speaking on the hit the fund had taken, Board Chair Virgil Wind noted that the school had been doing door-to-door delivery of meals to families during the pandemic. “Not a lot of districts service their families quite like we did,” he said.
Finally, Stutsman highlighted the community service fund. Her data indicated that, for the last five years, the fund has operated at a loss. However, Stutsman noted there was a new 21st Century Grant in effect for 2020, and the fund, though still at a loss, had trended up. The fund had been shown a loss of $276,362 in 2019 and a loss of $234,249.
Vold noted that the school has frequently opted to not charge students for community education opportunities that other districts might charge for because they didn’t want to discourage participation. In turn, the cost of those programs had to come from somewhere. Stutsman added that the general fund has served to cover the deficit previously, but that fund transfer had not been happening in recent years.
Vold also noted that the Lion’s Community Gym, when it’s open to the public, operated at $4,000 a month loss, and the finance committee had been monitoring the gym’s operation closely to see if there were ways for it to stop losing money. Wind added that if the fitness center had been open during the pandemic, the fund might have been in worse shape and that pandemic restrictions would have made the expense of the gym worse.
Following Stutsman’s presentation, the board unanimously approved the audit report.