Highland reviews annual audit report
RIVERSIDE—The Highland school board reviewed the audit report for the 2012-13 fiscal year, reviewed the budget estimate for the 2014-15 fiscal year, and approved the school calendar for the 2014-15 school year at its meeting Monday evening.
Kay Chapman, a certified public accountant from Muscatine who has worked with the Highland Community School District for several years, came to the school board meeting to review the yearly audit report with school board members.
Chapman told school board members the district was improving on paying off its debt.
“You didn’t have any new debt,” Chapman said. ”No new bond issues, didn’t do revenue bonds, capital loans, anything like that — which is great—and you’re making progress on the old bonds. You still have a ways to go on some of the old bonds but no new bonds.”
The report said Highland’s total revenues from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, were $9,494,743, which was a 6 percent increase. From that total amount of revenues $4,113,374 came from local tax, service charges were $1,104,754, operating grants were $1,160,925, unrestricted state grants were $2,807,246, contributions and donations were $266,225, interest was $614, and other general revenues were $13,278.
Expenses for the district totaled to $8, 836,760, a 1 percent decrease from the previous year, the audit report said. The expenses included $5,047,714 for the instructional support levy, $2,675,028 for support services, $349,912 for non-instructional support services, and $764,106 for other expenses.
A motion was made to accept the audit. The motion was approved. A copy of the audit report is available for the public to review in the central office.
Highland School Board Secretary and Business Manager Sue Rich gave the board a summary of the 2014-15 fiscal year budget estimates. The educational improvement levy is estimated to be at $5,254,046; of this $2,797,943 is for support services; $310,000 is for non-instructional services; and $1,234,257 is for other expenditures such as acquiring facilities and construction, and debt service.
Highland Community School District will ask for $3,805,580 in taxes or $16.28 per $1,000 of assessed value, Rich said.
“When you add all of the levy rates together you get $16.28999,” Rich said. “So that would be what we would be asking from the taxpayers.”
“And last year’s rate was $16.52,” said Highland Superintendent Chris Armstrong.
“Which is lower than last year,” Rich said, “and that’s per $1,000 of evaluation of property.”
The evaluation of the property in the school district comes from the county auditor, Rich said. At the school board retreat she plans on going over the different funds further with the board members.
School board member Nick Golden asked what the district wants the numbers to be after the deficit is paid off, which will be soon.
Armstrong said the district needed enough money to operate, especially in the summer, when they’re between state aid payments, and would rather not borrow money for that reason because it would cost the taxpayers more money.
A motion was made to publish the budget proposal for the 2014-15 fiscal year on April 3 and to hold a public hearing on the budget on April 14 at 6:30 p.m. The motion was approved unanimously.
A public hearing was held for the 2014-15 school year. Students would start school on Monday, Aug. 18, which is after the Iowa State Fair ends.
“We’re looking at starting on a Monday and we’re also looking at having three early releases the first three days,” Armstrong said. “That helps students adjust and it also gives teachers some additional time to get everything ready to go that they need to so that will be something different than in the past.”
“We also had some teachers in the high school advocate for this because our kitchen, our band room, and our shop are not air-conditioned,” said Highland High School Principal Angela Hazelett. “So if you remember at the beginning of this year it was really, really hot. It was well over 100 degrees in the kitchen, so that’s the reason why it’s somewhat hopeful.”
First semester would end on Dec. 22. Graduation would be held on May 17 and the last day of school is scheduled for May 21, 2015.
The public hearing was closed and a motion was made to approve the school calendar. The motion was approved unanimously.
Other items covered at the school board meeting included:
approving a 28E agreement with Kirkwood Community College for the concurrent enrollment program at the Washington Regional Learning Center;
and held a public hearing about the district’s Internet policy. Armstrong said the board had previously approved it in error because a public hearing wasn’t held before adopting the policy. No one spoke about the Internet policy, so it was approved.
The next school board meeting will be held Monday, March 24, at 5:30 p.m. in the Highland High School’s board room.