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Financial Outlook Positive For Emmetsburg Schools

School Board Briefed On District’s Finances During January Meeting

January 26, 2016
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

With recent turmoil in the financial world and stock markets around the globe, good financial news was a welcome topic for the Emmetsburg Community School Board at its January meeting Wednesday evening. A report prepared by District Business Manager Lisa Chapman showed the school district's overall financial position was on an upward trend during 2015.

In presenting the information to the board, consultant Gary Richardson noted that each year, the Emmetsburg Community Schools receive $580,000 from the state "Penny Tax", which can be used for maintenance and construction of facilities in addition to voted Physical Plant and Equipment Levies, or PPEL funds.

"With the district borrowing $1 million last year for various improvements from the State Sales Tax fund, a repayment of $160,000 per year has been set up for five years to pay off that loan," Richardson explained.

The million-dollar loan was taken out to allow for multiple projects in the past year, among which were replacement of the concrete drive in front of the high school complex, the purchas of two new school buses, two vans and a car for the district; roofing repairs; renovation of the high school gym, which included a new floor, bleachers and painting; new steps at the athletic field complex and purchase of a new tractor for the grounds.

"There are still funds remaining from the million dollars that were not spent, and must be used within three years,"?Richardson noted.

In the summary of finances, it was noted that the unrestricted/unassigned general fund balance grew to $1,596,520 in FY15, up from $1,078,513 in FY14. That equates to a financial solvency ratio of 19.98 percent, which is above state target rates of 5-10 percent. It also represents an increase of 4.19 percent over last year. The solvency ratio has risen 15.27 percent since 2010, when it wa 4.71 percent.

Another area of positive growth for the district is in the daily net cash ratio, which is a measurement of cash flow capacity of the district. On June 30, 2015, the Emmetsburg school district had total cash and investments totalling $1,421,409. Dividing that amount by the average daily district expenses of $21,182 would allow the district to operate for 67 days if no state or federal funding were received for a period of time. That timeframe is an increase of 18 days over Fiscal year 2014.

The State Department of Education recommends districts have a 90 day balance for cash flow. In 2010, the Emmetsburg had a cash flow ratio to support operations for 22 days.

Looking at General Fund expenditures for Fiscal Year 2015, revenues have totaled $8,061,268, while expenditures have totaled $7,696,998, a decrease of 3.8 percent.

"According to all of our targets, this report shows that we're doing very well financially as a district,"?Richardson told the board.

In other items of business, the board approved several personnel matters, including the hiring of Amanda Hansen for high school Spanish. Also approved was a contract for Tyler Bjustrom as Assistant Middle School Wrestling Coach, and a contract for Joe Carter as Ninth Grade Softball Coach for the upcoming season. The board also approved Molly Rodemeyer as a volunteer Assistant Seventh Grade girls basketball coach.

The resignation of Tim Rodemeyer as High School Volleyball Head Coach was accepted by the board, along with the resignation of Aaron Phillips as Middle School/High School Instrumental Music instructor.

"I feel that we as a board need to re-visit the middle school/high school band duties," commented Board member Kim Campbell. "I'm wondering if it's too much for one person to handle. I think we need to look at what the duties are, and how best they can be served. Otherwise, I have to wonder if we're not just going to burn someone out expecting too much from them. I'd just like to lessen the stress somehow."

"Is this a position that there might be a possibility of sharing?" asked Board /Member Dan Chism.

"That could be a possibility, but we need to begin advertising right away tomorrow," Richardson replied. "For now, it would be my recommendation to advertise the position as Middle School/High School Band."

"On these resignations, would we accept them pending suitable replacements? asked board member Scott Kibbie.

"I wouldn't recommend that we hold to that,"?Richardson replied.

With that, the hires and resignations were approved on a unanimous vote, with Board member Rick Bird absent and not voting.

"Has there been any thought given to offering Spanish at the lower grade levels?"?Chism asked.

"We do offer a course of Spanish in the eighth grade, but its just for a trimester," answered Middle School Principal Tracie Christiansen said. "But that may not happen next year. There are programs that are K-12 that are amazing, but they have staffs of two or three people."

"And it took us a long time to find ours," agreed Board President Tammy Naig.



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