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Perham-Dent School District receives 2022 financial statement audit

The audit was completed by Eide Bailly to determine whether financial statements were developed according to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

Exterior front entrance to Perham High School.
Perham High School
Perham Focus file photo
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PERHAM — The Perham-Dent School District met its financial goals in a few areas, but fell short in another for the 2022 financial year, according to an audit presented at the most recent school board meeting. The audit was completed by Fargo-based firm Eide Bailly to determine whether financial statements were developed according to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

The district's total funds (with exclusions of capital projects) for 2022 was $4.3 million. This is fairly consistent with 2021 except for a decrease of about $300,000, found mostly in general funds.

In the general funds, total revenue came in about 1.4% under budget, which was common throughout many districts this year, said Brian Stavenger, Eide Bailly CPA and partner.

Total expenditures came in about 3% over budget, but Stavenger said that anything within the 3% range is acceptable.

At the beginning of the year, general funds had a balance of about $1.51 million. By the end of the year, the balance was about $1.02 million. The total general fund balance peaked in about 2018 at over $4 million and has steadily declined every year since to $1.02 million in 2022.

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Unassigned funds — which the auditor defined as important reserves — started the year at $1.25 million and ended at $344,290. The district's unassigned fund balance goal was $500,000, meaning the district fell short of its goal.

The community service fund has remained consistent for the past three years, hovering at around $80,000-$100,000, and food service funds spiked up significantly since 2020 from under $400,000 to almost $800,000 in 2022. This food service spike is very common in the education world right now, Stavenger said, due to changes in the world of finance and how students are fed.

Following the audit presentation, the district approved its financial statements for the 2022 financial year.

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Essays and completed applications are due to Arvig by email before 11:59 p.m. on March 3.

Also discussed at the school board meeting were the following:

  • The district approved a total levy of $5.7 million.
  • Prairie Wind Middle School is trying out an app, Streamer, that allows English-learning and hard-of-hearing students to get closed captions of a lesson on their phone while a lesson is occurring.
  • Since the school district doesn't currently have funds to put toward major renovations, they are looking for some temporary solutions to accommodate the higher enrollment in the middle school and special education. Once more funds are available, the district will explore more permanent solutions.
  • Heart of the Lakes Elementary held a fundraiser and managed to gather about $900 for families in need.
  • The recently remodeled Heart of the Lakes kitchen passed its final inspection at the end of November.
  • The next school board meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 5 p.m. in the Perham High School Media Center.
Elizabeth (she/her), 23, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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