Representatives from O'Connor, Davies, Munns and Dobbins, the Pearl River School District’s external auditors, spoke with the board at Tuesday’s meeting about their audit of last year’s budget.
“Overall, you ended the year in good shape,” said Margaret Modugno.
Modugno and Chris Koph gave the presentation. Koph said they gave the district an unqualified, or clean, audit.
“It’s the highest level of assurance that an auditing firm can give an entity, and that’s the opinion that you’re receiving again this year,” Koph said.
He added that such a rating includeds not finding any fraud or illegal activities.
Modugno said last year’s budget projected that almost $1.5 million was going to be used from the fund balance. In actuality, $232,000 was used from the fund balance last year, mostly for tax challenge refunds. She added the district came into last year with almost $9.9 million in the fund balance and ended the year with about $9.6 million.
The district paid $810,000 in refunds related to tax rate challenges.
“It’s good you had that money set aside in that tax certiorari reserve, because if you had to find $800,000 to be paid out during the year, that would’ve been tough to do,” Modugno said.
She added that the fund balance is broken up into four sections: non-spendable, restricted amount, assigned amount and unassigned amount. The non-spendable is an amount put aside for longterm receivables, the restricted amount is made up of the various reserves, the assigned amount is what is needed to balance the 2012-2013 budget and the unassigned amount is what is left over.
“When all is said and done, that unassigned amount is the important number. That is what’s free and clear after all monies have been put aside into reserves as deemed necessary by the board,” Modugno said. “That unassigned amount as of June 30, 2012, is $2.4 million, which represents four percent of next year’s budget and that’s the maximum amount that a school district is allowed to have under New York state law.”
The restricted amount has the highest total at $5.8 million. The assigned amount contains funds taken from reserves, which were approved by the board and taxpayers. That includes $400,000 from the Employee Retirement System [ERS] reserve, $200,000 from tax certiorari reserve and another $343,000 of fund balance.
“Your reserves are very important right now because your new retirement rates just came out,” Koph said. “I believe the ERS is up almost 18 percent again this year and [Teachers Retirement System] is up about 20 percent this year, and your health insurance is up double digits again. So the fact that you were able to end the year in a good position, that leaves you positioned well for the future. It was important you had a good year.”