Herald and Journal, Nov. 22, 1999

Audits show schools' finances in good shape


By Andrea Vargo

The financial statement for the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (HLWW) school district generally looks good, said accountant Michael Burkhardt Monday.

Burkhardt told the HLWWschool board that it took in $314,393 more in revenue than it anticipated for the year ended June 30, 1999.

Property taxes accounted for the extra cash, said Burkhardt

The district also spent $61,082 less than it anticipated, coming in under budget.

Burkhardt told the board that a final payment on the district's general revenue bond will be made in 2001.

On the downside, the student activity account continues to run a deficit. For the '98-'99 school year, it was a little over $10,000 in the red.

This is common in most schools, and the yearbook seems to be the biggest drain, said Burkhardt.

The only concern that Burkhardt expressed is that $121,204 in deposits at Community Bank Winsted was not covered by collateral by, and this is not in compliance with state statutes.

The rest of the deposits are covered by FDIC.

Two other areas of non-compliance are not really problems, said Burkhardt.

The accounting department has only one person, due to the size of the district. This is a common problem with small schools and cities, he said.

The state would like to see more checks and balances with more staff, but in a small district, it just isn't possible, Burkhardt said.

Lack of records on fixed assets are another problem area. Due to many years when no records were kept, it is just about impossible to correct this, he said.

Lester Prairie

By Luis Puga

The Lester Prairie School Board got a clean bill of financial health from its auditor, Mike Burkhardt, at last Monday's meeting.

The annual report indicated, according to Burkhardt, that the school was in compliance with all requirements from the state's concerning its records.

Burkhardt noted that the school lacks records for its general fixed assets, but that it was not a significant problem.

Also, the school has omitted disclosures indicating spending or work on the Y2K bug problem. Burkhardt felt this was also not a significant issue.

Burkhardt noted that the school is close to paying off one of its bonds.

He also pointed out a large discrepancy from the school's general fund revenues and expenditures, a $350,000 loss. He explained that while he doesn't know exactly why there is such a large variance, he concluded it was because of a change in computer systems that handled the records.

He stated that he believed that what most likely happened is that when the transition between systems was made, the records that made up that lost were misplaced. He said he would look into the matter.

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