District financial audit shows strong fiscal stewardship despite funding challenges
Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 — South St. Paul Public Schools received a positive report on its annual financial audit, which was presented to and approved by the School Board at the Nov. 25 meeting. Auditors issued an “unmodified opinion” on the district’s financial statements for the 2018-19 school year, which means no corrections were needed and all accounting is in order.
“We appreciate the auditor’s evaluation of our finances and are pleased it affirms our commitment to sound fiscal policies and practices,” said Aaron Bushberger, director of finance. “A clean audit of our financial statements is an indication of fiscal transparency, an important promise we have made with our community.”
“The results of our testing disclosed no instances of noncompliance with regard to Government Auditing Standards and state and federal funding requirements,” said Aaron Nielsen, independent auditor with Malloy, Montague, Karnowski, Radosevich & Co., P.A., a certified public accounting firm in Minneapolis. Nielsen also noted that the district had implemented adequate procedures to correct a minor finding in last year’s audit report.
The audit found that the district’s revenue per student, as well as its resulting expenditures, were below metro averages. “This trend continues in large part because of our inequitable funding system,” said Superintendent Dave Webb. “We know that funding is not the only solution, but we need to make sure our students are on a level playing field with their peers in other districts.”
The report also said that the district’s unrestricted general fund balance remains above 12 percent of the annual budget, as required under district policy. However, Bushberger added that given ongoing funding and enrollment challenges, the district will face greater financial pressures in the future.