School district in stable financial condition at end of 2012-13 year

 Out of all the tables, graphs and dollar figures presented in last week’s annual audit report to the Princeton School Board, one set of figures drew the most attention from the district’s director of business services, Michelle Czech.

The figures that Czech focused on for the 2012-13 school year that was audited involve students in the Princeton district opting to attend school elsewhere. The audit refers to these students’ weighted daily average memberships because the state assigned a weighted value as pertains to state aid for grade levels of students.

Czech specifically was watching the number of weighted memberships who resided in the Princeton district but attended school in another district during the 2013 school year that ended June 30. The more membershipss a district has, the more general student aid the states gives the district.

A kindergarten student is given a weighted value of 0.612. Grades one through three students are figured at 1.115, grades four through six at 1.06 and grades seven through 12 at 1.30.

The 2013 audit that Caroline Stutsman, with the auditing firm KDV, gave to the School Board Oct. 22 shows there were 432.38 weighted memberships who resided in the Princeton district in the 2013 school year but were enrolled in other districts. Those residing in the district and enrolled elsewhere during in the previous school year totaled 353.98.

The audit also showed that 141.28 weighted memberships who were not residing in the district during the 2013 school year enrolled in the Princeton district. That means the district had a 291.1 net loss in weighted memberships. That compares to the 210.28 net loss the year before.

Stutsman noted that the district’s net loss of weighted memberships during the 2013 school year was 80.2 more than the previous school year.

The total number of weighted memberships in the district during the 2013 school year was 3,765.41, or 117.29 fewer than in the 2011-12 year.

Good health

The district is in good financial shape, Stutsman said. When the state Legislature delayed the delivery of some of its state aid to districts in recent years, Princeton didn’t struggle like some other districts, she said.

The district’s total revenue for the general fund was over budgeted by $523,830, or 1.8 percent. The majority of this variance was from state sources, and that was mainly due to special education revenues coming in $437,998 over budget due to the district having more special education students in the 2013 school year.

The budget variance was slightly offset by general education revenue being $215,193 under budget. Property tax revenue was $203,300 over budget. Stutsman explained that the variance is due to a combination of the district omitting a budget for the state tax shift adjustment and the county apportionment and also the district receiving $53,000 from Benton County in tax forfeit lands.

The district spent more per student, or average daily membership, from the 2012 school year to the 2013 fiscal year. The audit explains that this is due to $1,459,418 more in expenditures, or 5.1 percent, coupled with a 2.1 percent decline in the students served.

To get a scope of the Princeton district’s finances, its general fund revenue during the 2013 school year was slightly more than $29 million, and the projected expenditures were at close to $30 million.

To have enough revenue to cover expenditures, the district has been spending down the capital fund within the general fund, according to Czech.

General fund expenditures during the 2013 school year were $702,702 under budget. All the categories came in under budget except for administration and sites, and Buildings and Equipment programs.

The district’s unassigned fund balance rose by $540,745, putting the fund at 17 percent of the district’s unassigned budgeted expenses for 2014. The district’s assigned fund balance increased by $23,733 because the district continues to plan for educational needs, according to the audit.

The unassigned fund balance is at $4.7 million and district planners had wanted the unassigned fund balance to be at 10 percent of the unassigned budgeted expenses.

Food service fund

During the same school year, revenue in the food service fund rose $39,745 due to increased free and reduced meal reimbursement and using more commodities. Expenditures increased by $108,797 as a result of kitchen repairs in 2013 and using more commodities. As a result, the food service fund decreased to $446,263 at the end of the year, which is 31.2 percent of expenditures based on a nine-month operating year.