Champaign school district reports clean audit for last fiscal year
CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district received an "unqualified" opinion on an audit of its 2005-06 financial statements – the highest rating level available.
The clean audit means the district can get a lower interest rate on any bonds it sells in the future. Chief Financial Officer Gene Logas reviewed last year's budget in explaining to the board Monday night why the district received the clean audit.
Logas said the district outperformed last year's original budget projections by $1.8 million. The original budget he prepared estimated a $2.5 million deficit. The district ended the last fiscal year with about a $1.27 million deficit before it sold working cash bonds, which gave it a surplus and will be used to balance the next three years' budgets. It also received about $532,000 from a lease agreement.
Logas said revenues in the education fund were $1.6 million higher than expected. The extra money came mainly from two sources: corporate taxes collected by the state and paid to local governments and interest earnings. Logas said the corporate taxes were higher than expected because of an improving economy, and the district received more interest earnings because of higher interest rates.
When all the district's funds are considered, it took in about $1.3 million more than expected, excluding the working cash.
Logas said of the district's financial condition: "It is stabilized. It is improving. But our financial situation is still in very serious condition, one that requires constant monitoring and a careful reaction to changing conditions." He will discuss his three-year budget projections for the district at the December school board meeting.
In other business
New plan for consent decree being put together. Deputy Superintendent Dorland Norris said district administrators have begun meeting with the plaintiffs' lawyer to collaborate on a new plan for meeting the consent decree guidelines by 2009. U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade ordered the two sides to collaborate on a revised plan, at an Oct. 19 hearing in the district's consent decree case.
Norris said the two sides met Nov. 7 to establish ground rules for the collaboration, and McDade was present through a conference call for part of the meeting. She said the sides will meet Thursday and Friday to discuss discipline and alternative education. They also have meetings scheduled for two days in late November and two days in mid-December. All the meetings are taking place in Chicago, where the lawyers for the two sides and Bill Trent, a UI educational policy studies professor who is a consultant for the court monitor, are.