Lake Orion schools get an ‘unmodified opinion‘ at annual audit presentation

By Megan Kelley

Review Writer

Lake Orion Community Schools had its annual audit presentation during the school board meeting on Nov. 10, and received an unmodified opinion, the highest assurance that can be provided, on the district’s basic financial statements..

The board of education was joined again by Donna Hanson and Jenny Kolbow from Plante Moran to present the district’s audit information on the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.

As part of the audit, Plante Moran does evaluate the district’s internal control processes and procedures but they did not have any findings or deficiencies noted.

The audit also showed that the district has been compliant with both the bond and sinking fund, Hanson said, adding that the district engaged in two bond refundings during the last year, taking advantage of the strong interest rate market, which equated to roughly $1.1 million of interest savings.

The district also received an unmodified opinion from the federal programs audit perspective.

“The district does continue to be recognized as a low-risk auditee and that stems from a history of positive audit results in the federal grant area,” Hanson said.

According to Plante Moran, in non-recurring COVID-19 relief funding, LOCS is expected approximately $15 million; the amount that was spent in this past year is around $4 million of that funding.

“I wanted to note that all of these new grants have different requirements related to them. The district has to apply for that funding, has to monitor and budget that funding, ensure that there are systems in place to comply with all of the unique rules on those and report out on the final expenditures on those grants as well,” Hanson said.

Total revenue in the district’s general fund in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021 was around $89.2 million with a large majority of that coming from the state. Federal funding made up 7.5 percent of the district’s funding while State Restricted Retirement made up 7.3 percent, local made up 10.5 percent and everything else amounted to 7 percent.

“This graph right here reflects how dependent the district is on the state funding. But also to note this year, is if you were to compare this graph to prior years, is the shift in federal funds. So, in prior years federal funding made up about three percent compared to seven-and-a-half this year,” said Kolbow.

On the expenditures side, the total district expenditures for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2021 was about $87.4 million.

“The majority of these expenditures are spent on instruction and people support at about 75 percent. So, those are actual dollars being spent in your classroom. Those are dollars being spent on teachers, Para pros and teacher support,” Kolbow said.

Operations and maintenance take up about 6.7 percent of the expenditures, school administration takes about 5.5 percent and several other categories amount to less than five percent.

The majority of these expenditures go toward salaries and benefits, which make up about 77 percent not including the seven percent for State Restricted Retirement.

As in years past, the district’s retirement expense continues to grow.

Hanson also noted that the district’s business office consisting of Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance John Fitzgerald, Andrea Curtis, Julie Tyson, Leslie Cicalo and Maureen O’Keefe is “doing more with less people” and that the positive audit results are an illustration of that.


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