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Study yields high marks for Kyrene schools' fiscal policies

By: Sarat Pratapchandran

Jan. 20, 2007

The Kyrene School District has earned high grades for fiscal responsibility, based on a comprehensive analysis by certified public accountants.

The analysis, which covered the year ended June 30, 2006, determined that the district’s “internal fiscal controls are effective and well maintained,” Karin Smith, director of business services, told Wrangler News.

Tucson-based Heinfeld, Meech & Co. conducted the study, which will be presented formally to the Governing Board at its Tuesday, Jan. 23 meeting.

State law mandates that school districts undergo an annual audit by a certified public accounting firm and that they publish a complete set of resulting financial statements.

The 2005-06 report provides a detailed review of Kyrene's internal controls over financial reporting, as well as its compliance with various provisions of laws, regulations, contracts, grant agreements and other fiscal requirements.

“A positive audit results in confidence in the community,” Smith said. Additionally, she noted, it enables potential lenders to set long-term bond rates based on the strength of the district's financial statements.

Smith said a schedule of revenues, expenditures and changes in fund balances, both budgeted and actual, is provided in this report for the general fund as required supplementary information. The annual expenditure budget serves as the foundation for the district’s financial planning and control.

Budgetary controls ensure compliance with legal provisions embodied in the annual expenditure budget approved by the district’s governing board.
According to Smith, the district’s budget for 2006-07 is “pretty consistent this year to what it was last year.”

“The school district creates a revenue-based budget, which means we budget expenses to equal our revenues,” she said.

“At this time we are not anticipating any significant increases with the exception of kindergarten funding for the 2007-08 school year. It is still very early to determine this as the legislature hasn't begun to meet on the budget yet.”

The district, like others in the state, expects full funding for full-day kindergarten beginning the next fiscal year.

“Beginning next fiscal year, it is expected that the state will fully fund kindergarten. At that time we expect to have enough funding to offer full-day kindergarten to all families who desire that,” Smith said.

Kyrene’s current year budget for maintenance and operations activities is projecting a 6.5 percent increase at $99 million. M&O activities form nearly half of all expenditures projected by the school district.

The district has no plans to build any new schools next year. However, Smith said, “With bond money we are beginning to look at some building improvements as identified in our Capital Improvement Plan.”

The school district’s 2007-08 budget will be developed this spring, brought to the board in late June for review and earmarked for approval in early July.

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