The Greenbush-Middle River School 2020-21 fiscal year financial audit report delivered by Eide Bailly showed that the district had an actual deficit of $639,434. It also showed a fund balance that remained in the positive, at $671,114, as of June 30, 2021.
The district’s final 2020-21 budget projected a deficit of $593,010— a variance of ($46,424) compared to the actual deficit. The board learned of all this information at its November 15 meeting.
At the end of the audit presentation by Eide Bailly, GMR Superintendent Larry Guggisberg highlighted how the district put some things in place to reduce its budget to help get its referendum in place.
As previously reported, the school board approved about $451,000 in reductions in March 2021— about a 10 percent decrease from its $4.5 million budget— to counteract its financial situation.
Also as previously reported, the district passed two levy questions during a November 2 special election. The voters passed renewing its expiring $506.05 per pupil levy— set to expire on June 30, 2022— and a levy $700 per pupil more than the expiring levy. With both passed, these levies will begin to run for six years, starting with taxes payable 2022 and will provide $289,934 to the district annually, according to preliminary estimates provided to the district.
“The unfortunate thing is… it would have been nice to have it done last year (getting referendum in place), but that just didn’t happen with COVID and all the dynamics associated with that,” Guggisberg said. “So I’d say your district is kind of starting in the point now where it’s moving upward.”
He added how the district is currently in a good financial position.
“You’re going to be in a better financial position as time goes on,” Guggisberg said, “as long as you adjust your expenditures along with the number of students you have.”
The audit also showed a large increase in the district’s food service fund— currently over $60,000. Guggisberg explained the reasoning for this growth.
“If you remember, meals were free all of last year,” Guggisberg said. “We were getting state aid for that.”
Speaking of food service, Guggisberg signed up for and got pre-approved to buy a new freezer and new refrigerator for the school’s food service department. He originally signed up these purchases to be used with ESSER (School Emergency Relief Fund) II dollars, but instead of using ESSER II dollars for this, the district is going to use the food service fund balance for these purchases.
“That’ll give us other money to spend on round two (ESSER dollars), so there’s a little bit of a shuffling of funds there,” Guggisberg said. “We’re using the fact that we got all kinds of state or federal aid for the food service program.”
With this, Guggisberg has to transfer funds from the food service fund to the general fund, but can’t do that without board approval. He added how this would be done at a later time.
Guggisberg mentioned how the district ordered the freezer and the refrigerator at the start of this school year. He believed the refrigerator was here, but not the freezer.
“We ordered it. (We) ended up getting the low bid from Dvergsten and he’s saying we’d be lucky to get that freezer, I think it is, before school starts,” Guggisberg said. “I mean it is next year, because everything is behind and supply chain/labor issues, labor shortage and so on.”
To see the complete GMR School Board story, read the November 24 issue of The Tribune in print or online.