Schools receive favorable audit report

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published November 8, 2011

HARPER WOODS — The Harper Woods School District received some good news when auditors Rehmann Robson presented the annual budget report last month.

The district’s financial books are in order, allowing auditors to give the district an unqualified opinion, which is what cities and districts hope to hear from their auditors.

“That’s very good,” said David Fisher of Rehmann Robson.

Even better news might have been that despite all the financial challenges many districts and cities have been facing, Harper Woods schools kept within recommended parameters for fund balance, the auditors said.

Some districts are having trouble keeping their revenues in line with their expenditures.

Still, Harper Woods schools officials have mentioned facing down bigger budget challenges during this budget year. Many districts have struggled with rising costs and significant cuts in funding from the state.

Harper Woods schools continues to work on finding ways to boost enrollment numbers in the district, including attempts to show district families who have enrolled their children in other districts or schools what the district is now offering.

Yet, the news from the previous year is good. At the end of June, revenues had outpaced expenditures by more than $100,000, and the district had an undesignated fund balance of more than the minimum 5 percent recommended by financial experts.

The district was, however, at the lower end of the recommended 5-15 percent range.

“Some of the districts right now are in the deficit situation,” Fisher said.

“That is good,” he said about Harper Woods in comparison. “Something good happened during the year. You did have an excess of revenue over expenditures. At least you have been able to add to the fund balance for the year.”

School board members commended the administration for a clean audit. Board Vice President David Kien said this report was free of even minor issues auditors might raise.

“Congratulations to our staff for a job well done,” Kien said.