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Nevis audit has $1.5 million balance; 'financially solid'

The Nevis School Board, convening a special meeting Tuesday to review the audit, learned the general fund balance to be close to what was forecast, a negative $82,000 change attributed to the construction of the concession stand.

Overall, the ending general fund balance of $1.5 million as of June 30 is close to what was anticipated, Justin Burchill of Brady Martz told the board. The concession stand had not been part of the year's budget.

"Key financial highlights" during the 2011-12 school year cited by the accountants were net assets decreasing by $191,167 as a result of the current year's operations. Total revenues were $5,877,473 with expenses totaling $6,068,640. And the district's net assets decreased 5.3 percent.

Budgetary highlights: Revenues were $201,128 more than expected due to additional property taxes and insurance proceeds. But expenditures were $304,959 more than the budget due to construction of the concession stand, equipment purchases and salary increases after negotiations, which were not budgeted.

The district's net assets include $1.5 million, which is "due from the Department of Education."

"For the future," the report suggests the operating levy may need to increase.

"The Nevis Public School, much like all of the other districts in the state, is dependent on the state for a large majority of funding," the report states. "This funding is directly tied to student enrollments, making it critical for districts to maintain or increase their student population to have the dollars needed to meet the constantly increasing costs of education.

"Increases in salaries, health insurance, books and supplies, heating and transportation fuels are constantly increasing, making it extremely difficult to maintain a balanced budget while meeting the ever changing needs of the student body and community we serve," the report said.

"At present, the Nevis District has a voter approved operating levy of $252 which is significantly below the state average. Unless there are changes in the state funding formula or increases in enrollment, additional operating dollars will be needed by this district to maintain the educational programs our students need," the accountants caution.

"In relation to other districts, Nevis is at a break even point," Burchill said.

Superintendent Steve Rassier noted the loss of stimulus dollars has impacted the budget, but he expects more funds to come into the district this year.

The district, he said, "is financially solid."