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Westonka Receives 'Clean' Audit Report
Borg Report October 6, 2022
I am pleased to report that auditors at the Oct. 3, 2022 Westonka School Board meeting gave the district an unqualified or "clean" opinion—the best opinion a district can receive. The auditors reported that the district's revenues and expenses were better than projected for 2021-22 due to coronavirus funding support and expenses coming in under projections.
Westonka has an unassigned fund balance of $3,116,203, or 9.04% of general fund expenditures. The district was projected to use $69,124 of the unassigned fund balance last school year but instead ended the year increasing the balance by $148,264. Further, the district was able to increase its assigned fund balance dedicated to protecting class size, which currently is at $1,630,000. This improvement was due, in large part, to the Education Stabilization Funding received during the pandemic.
Prioritizing Low Class Sizes to Combat Learning Loss - Over the past two school years, the Westonka School Board made the wise decision to build up an assigned fund balance for class size reduction. By targeting dollars for this purpose, the district has been able to avoid significant staffing/program cuts and maintain lower class sizes in order to address learning loss related to the pandemic.
During this current 2022-23 school year, the district plans to use $498,673 from the assigned fund to maintain class sizes and support to focus on academic improvement. Throughout the pandemic, the school board has demonstrated a commitment to making prudent financial decisions with any coronavirus funding support we received, prioritizing actions that would have long-term benefits for our students.
Establishing an assigned fund balance for class size reduction will help Westonka stabilize our budget until the 2024-25 school year, when the district will receive the second step of a voter-approved increase in operating funds. In 2019, Westonka residents approved a new 10-year operating levy with a two-step increase to cover day-to-day operating expenses. It is thanks to the community’s support of this type of thoughtful, long-term financial planning that Westonka continues to have best-in-state results and the lowest total school property taxes in Hennepin County.
Current Year Financial Position - As is the case in school districts across the state, Westonka’s enrollment over the past two years has been impacted by the pandemic. However, the 2022-23 enrollment is above projections by 12 students and is three students over last year. We will continue to monitor enrollment and other revenue sources to best support student academic achievement. More information on our revised budget and budget goal will be coming by February.
2021-2022 Audit Report Now Available Online - For more detailed information, view the audited financial statement on the district website for the year ended June 30, 2022.
Strong Financial Foundation - Westonka received the 2022 School Finance Award from the Minnesota Department of Education, which recognizes school organizations for sound financial management policies and procedures. The district also holds a very high "Aa2" bond rating.
I want to thank the Westonka Financial Services Department for its careful work and the staff at large for the discipline shown. Their efforts within our budget have helped our students reach high points of success year after year.