The Nevis School Board was presented with the 2021 audit at the Nov. 22 meeting.

Brian Opsahl from the accounting firm Brady Martz identified the 2021 results as a "clean, unmodified audit," with no issues noted.

The net position of the district increased $301,478 as a result of the current year's operations. Total revenues of $8,178,255 exceeded total expenditures of $7,876,255. All district funds ended the year with positive balances. “That’s a good sign,” Opsal said.

The district continued a four-year trend of growth in the unassigned general fund balance, so that it now represents 26% of the total budget. Opsal said this fund has been trending upwards over the past five years. “Anything over 15% is considered healthy,” he said.

He said having over 25% in this fund is fine, especially as it provides some margin for special projects and purchases, such as buses. The district’s goal is to have at least 20% of the total budget.

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The food service fund ended the year with $25,243, primarily due to federal funding of all student meals last year.

Opsal pointed out that the district received a total of $927,000 in federal awards, which is why a special single audit was required. It also had a clean, unmodified opinion.

“It’s kind of unusual for an entity that normally doesn’t have a single audit to come through with no issues at all. We tested the child nutrition cluster as well as the coronavirus relief fund and felt that all the testing we did was in compliance and had internal controls that were designed properly.”

Parks praised the Nevis School business department for their professionalism in developing the budget and tracking almost $8 million in expenses.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved a $300 COVID-19 stipend. ESSER funding allows for school districts to provide a one-time retention stipend to recognize the extra work required to address the impact of COVID-19 on the learning environment. All Nevis Public School staff who are contracted through the teachers union, certified staff union, bus drivers or individual contract holders will be eligible for $300 to be paid on Dec. 15.

  • Approved individual contract work agreements to reflect a 4% salary increase in 2022 and a 3% salary increase in 2023.

  • Discussed re-evaluating the need for typing/keyboarding classes. The topic was brought up at the listening session prior to the board meeting. The classes were dropped when the teachers who formerly taught them retired. It was suggested these skills could be integrated into the curriculum to give students the skills they need to compose and send an email.

  • Discussed the need for a permanent location for the approximately 20 online students who are currently moving from place to place in the building. The community education building was suggested as one possible site, with a supervisor on site.

  • Discussed the need for more recycling receptacles throughout the school along with infographics and reminders posted, encouraging recycling by both students and those attending events at the school. “When seniors send the message recycling is cool, that trickles down,” student council representative Megan Lindow said. “That’s something we talk about a lot at student council, good peer pressure and how we can use that in our best interests.”

  • Heard the student council will be working on getting updates on TVs in the hallways showcasing student activities, along with a calendar of upcoming events on a bulletin board.

  • Approved contract agreements with classified staff and bus drivers for 2021-23. The pay for bus drivers increased from $21.65 to $22.37 per hour. In addition, a $500 sign-on bonus will be given to new drivers after four months of employment with the district.

  • Approved winter coaches and advisors, as presented.

  • Approved a resolution regarding awarding grants from the Minnesota State High School League to assist, recognize, promote and fund extra-curricular participation by high school students in athletic and fine arts programs. These grants will be awarded based upon gender balance, school size, and geographic location to the extent possible.

  • Approved $8,120 in donations.

The next board meeting is at 7 p.m. in the school media center on Monday, Dec. 20 beginning with the truth-in-taxation hearing and continuing with other board business. A listening session will be held in the school cafeteria from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m. with one board member present.