If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Board of Education has transferred $537,225 to Fund 46, the capital improvements fund.
During the audit meeting held prior to the regular school board meeting July 12, the Board of Education learned that the school district had $539,225 more in revenue than expenditures as of June 30, the end of the fiscal year for the school district.
The audit numbers were received only a few hours before the start of the meeting, said William C. Yingst Jr., district administrator.
The audit process for the school district has changed. In years past, a team of auditors would come to the school district for four or five days. Now the audit takes two days, and the exchange of information is all electronic, with questions submitted by e-mail or by telephone, he said.
Ashley Goulet, the school district’s bookkeeper, uploads all of the information the auditors require, and there were very few questions this year, Yingst noted.
The Colfax school district established Fund 46 six years ago.
Under state law, money that school districts deposit into Fund 46 must remain in the fund for the first five years before the money can be spent on capital improvements.
School boards are allowed to deposit left-over funds into Fund 46 from the previous school year by a July 30 deadline.
School districts receive state aid on money put into Fund 46.
The Colfax school district generally strives to match the expenditures with the revenue as closely as possible, but the 2020-2021 school year “was an anomaly,” Yingst said.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school district had expenses that had never before been incurred, such as expenses for Plexiglass shields, hand sanitizer and extra soap and paper towels, but the school district also did not have other expenses and spent little or nothing on some activities, such as field trips and athletics, he said.
“There were a whole host of things not normal this year,” Yingst said.
In addition to the changes in expenses, the school district received federal money because of the pandemic, he said.
The federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), established as part of the Educational Stabilization Fund in the CARES Act, was intended to address the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on elementary and secondary schools.
All together, the school district spent $350,000 on COVID-related expenses, such as the Plexiglass dividers, personal protective equipment (PPE), more substitute teachers and hand sanitizer, Yingst said.
ESSER is a reimbursement system, so Yingst asked Goulet to create a spreadsheet with COVID expenses.
At the time ESSER 1 was available, no one knew that ESSER 2 would be available after June 1, he noted.
The school district had all of the information and the receipts in order, submitted the application for ESSER funds and received the money before June 30, Yingst said.
Normally, when the school district has left-over funds, the money would be spent on items on the district’s short-range planning list, such as vehicle replacements or new Promethean boards for classrooms, he said.
This year is also an anomaly in that certain products are not available because of supply chain issues, Yingst said, noting that the school district has been trying to buy a new mini-van for the past four months and that ceiling tiles also are not available.
The school district would normally spend down the funds, but this year, because of the supply chain problems, that’s not possible, he said, adding that he was glad the school district’s referendum projects are finished.
The anomaly of a pandemic that caused new expenses along with a lack of regular expenses, that caused federal money to be available, and that caused supply chain problems so that certain items the school district would normally buy are not available all resulted in more than $500,000 being available for Fund 46, Yingst said.
“This was completely different from a normal year,” he said.
The audit meeting was at 6 p.m., and at the regular meeting at 7 p.m., the Colfax Board of Education approved transferring $537,225 to Fund 46, leaving $2,000 extra in the general fund as a cushion.
According to the audit report, as of June 30, Fund 46 had a balance of $436,556.
With the $537,225 added in to the June 30 balance, Fund 46 has $973,781.
Here are the other funds included in the audit report:
• Fund 21 (student assistance, activities, scholarships and donations, such as the money from the Dee Clark estate) — $237,455.
• Fund 27 (special education) — zero. The special education fund must always zero out at the end of the fiscal year. Fund 27 had revenue of $563,919 and expenses of $1,290,303. The amount of $726,384 was transferred into Fund 27 from the general fund to make up the difference between the revenue and the expenses.
• Fund 38 (debt service for non-referendum items such as land purchases and tennis court updates) — $42,223.
• Fund 39 (referendum debt service) — $359,636.
• Fund 49 (capital projects) — zero. The capital projects associated with the referendum are finished.
• Fund 50 (food service) — $238,528. Food service had revenue of $452,730 and expenses of $377,980. Left over funds of $74,750 were added to the June 30 fund balance of $163,778. The food service fund balance can only be spent on items related to food service.
• Summary — for the 2020-2021 school year, the Colfax school district had revenue of $9,895,519 and expenses of $8,629,910.
The budget review meeting was held at 6:30 p.m. July 12 prior to the regular school board meeting.
At this point, with very little known about the state budget that was just signed by the governor, the budget numbers for the 2021-2022 school year in Colfax are “an estimated guess, at best,” Yingst said.
In the state budget, K-12 education is flatlined on dollar amount increases, he said.
There is a chance that more money will be directed toward K-12 education, but Yingst said he had not yet seen any concrete information.
The amount for the special education budget is especially fluid because the school district does not yet know how many special education students or teachers there will be for the 2021-2022 school year, Yingst said.
Todd Kragness, school board president, asked if there was ever a time when the school district’s budget is not an estimate.
The state budget is a biennial budget, so that in the second year of the state budget, the school district already knows what will be allocated for state aid, Yingst said.
The budget the governor signed recently is the first year of a biennial budget, he said.
Some years, school districts do not find out any of the state budget numbers until October, although in a year when the state budget process goes more smoothly, the state numbers will be available in June, Yingst said.
On October 15 every year, school districts find out the exact amount of state aid they will be receiving for the year, although again, in a year when the budget process has gone more smoothly, those numbers would be available earlier, he said.
Here are the tentative numbers for the 2021-2022 school district budget:
• Fund 10 (general fund) revenue of $9,510,312.
• Fund 10 expenses of $9,484,608.
• Fund 10 expense for salaries of $4,676,067.
• Fund 10 expense for benefits of $1,699,481.
• Fund 10 expense for purchased services of $1,635,670.
• Fund 10 expense for non-capital purchases of $295,105.
• Fund 10 expense for capital equipment of $155,000.
• Fund 10 expense for insurance and judgements of $161,417.
• Fund 10 expense for inter-fund transfers (projected amount for special education) of $818,367.
• Fund 10 expense for other objects of $43,500.