School audit reveals positive financial outlook | SierraSun.com

School audit reveals positive financial outlook

Renee Shadforth, Sierra Sun

Despite last year’s state budget cuts, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District is fairing better than most districts in the state, according to an annual audit of TTUSD’s financial statements.

The state-mandated audit, performed by Stephen Roach Accountancy Corporation, reveals the district’s financials at the end of the 2002-2003 school year on June 30, 2003.

“This report is to let you know if you’re better off or worse than last year,” Roach said in his presentation to the school board Wednesday night. “… This indicates you are better off.”

According to the report, the district had an increase of $6,130,644 in net assets over the previous school year; however, much of the increase is due to income from the district’s various building and renovation projects. At the time of the audit, the district had more than $25 million of new construction projects in progress, according to the report.

Roach lauded the district for maintaining its 3 percent reserve of the general fund for times of economic uncertainty. TTUSD also increased its restricted fund reserve when compared to the previous year’s numbers.

“The fact that you went up at all last year, especially with state budget restrictions … is a very good sign,” Roach said.

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School board President Cindy Gustafson attributed the district’s current financial state to early cutbacks in the face of last year’s mid-year budget cuts from the state.

“I don’t think we can say enough about the fiscal steps we took last year and how that prevented us from having to go into crisis mode,” she said.

Trustee Karen Van Epps said that negotiating staff contracts after the district knew what the mid-year cuts would be also helped the district remain more fiscally solvent.

The district saved as much as $1.5 million on 2002-2003 budget expenditures due to hiring and spending freezes invoked in January 2003 in the face of the state’s mid-year budget cuts, district assistant superintendent Ralph Johnson reported last year.

Although the report was largely positive, the district received low marks from the auditor in one main area: TTUSD had inappropriate records from school events, such as ticket and concession sales receipts from athletic events.

Roach said this is a common, and relatively minor, issue in school district audits. District Superintendent Dennis Williams said he would make it a goal to maintain records from school events in the future.

To view a copy of the audit report contact Ralph Johnson at 582-2505.