Lake Orion Schools receives “highest level opinion” in annual audit

By Megan Kelley
Staff Writer
LAKE ORION — The Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education received an “unmodified opinion” for the district’s annual audit, the highest form of assurance the district could receive.
Joining the board to present the audit were Donna Hanson and Jenny Kolbow from Plante Moran.
Hanson provided a summary overview of the audit results for the year ending June 20, 2023, which showed the district receiving an unmodified opinion on both the financial statement audit and federal programs audit.
“An unmodified opinion is the highest level opinion that we can provide that your financial statements are fairly stated, is materially correct and can be relied upon,” Hanson said.
The financial statements audit also showed no internal control deficiencies or non-compliances.
“We also do compliance testing each year on the sinking fund expenditures and the bond fund expenditures. There are rules and allowability as to what those dollars can be spent on so we test those, ensure they’re in accordance with what the ballot language was, what the voters approved and test such things as bid testing and that the proper processes and procedures are being followed regarding those un-unique dollars,” Hanson said.
Hanson also reviewed some of the unique dollars that came into the district during the year end 2023 fiscal year.
“For fiscal year 2023, there were a couple items to note that are unique to the year: one is in regards to an additional retirement funding amount that was allocated to Lake Orion. It was around $4.9 million. If you recall, the legislature approved around $1 billion of one-time funding to the pension plan and the amount that was allocated to Lake Orion was $4.9 million. How those dollars come in is through your state aid, and the district reflects it as revenue but then you have to pay that directly to the retirement system. So, essentially when you’re looking at this year in comparison to previous years, there’s an additional almost $5 million in revenue reflected and $5 million in expenditures reflected,” said Hanson. “In addition, there continued to be the pandemic dollars, the federal grant funding that was spent and those dollars are winding down.”
According to Plante Moran, Lake Orion Schools continues to be a low-risk auditee.
In the general fund, LOCS saw a total revenue of $104,343,746 in the year ending June 30, 2023. A majority of revenue collected by the district came from the state, which was 61.8% of revenue, or $64,497,308.
General fund expenditures showed a majority of funds, 74.8% or $77,855,680, being spent on instruction and instructional support. The majority of which is spent on salaries and benefits, which make up 45% and 25% of expenditures, respectively.
During the fiscal year, which began on July 1, 2022 and ended June 30, 2023, the district’s fund balance has increased from $8,744,085 to $8,945,935.
“The current year increase in the general fund was approximately $200,000, which brings the fund balance to about $8.9 million. This equates to the district being able to operate for about 4.47 weeks and the fund balance as a percentage of expenditures is 8.6%,” said Kolbow.
Plante Moran statistics showed LOCS had an increase in fund balance every year since 2020.

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