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Park Rapids has positive audit

The Park Rapids School District received a commendable "report card" from the auditor this week.

The district saw a $943,610 positive change in the general fund in 2012, ending the year with a $4.25 million fund balance.

This compares with a $1.1 million general fund balance in 2008, with the district facing statutory operating debt a few years previously.

Board chair Sherry Safratowich expressed gratitude to "everyone for their work" on regaining positive financial status. "But we still have a way to go."

"The district has done a wonderful job," Heather Johnson of Carlson Highland told the board. But she cautioned districts are subject to a number of variables, including enrollment fluctuations and health care costs.

The district's unassigned fund balance, she pointed out, has grown from 4.7 percent in 2008 at $719,942 to $2.6 million in 2012, which is 17 percent of the district's annual expenditures of $15 million.

The Government Finance Officers Association recommends schools maintain fund balances of no less than 17 percent, Park Rapids achieving the goal this year.

The Food Service fund continues to grow, with an ending fund balance of $237,621 - $60,059 realized in revenues over expenditures.

And Community Education coordinator Jill Dickinson earned cheers. The fund is in positive territory - $19,425 at year's end - for the fist time in several years. In 2010, the fund saw a $99,224 deficit, a $41,559 deficit last year.

"This is good news," Johnson told the board in summary. "You've done a good job. But it needs to continue.

"This is a living document."