RTR Schools experience $310,951 increase in fund balances

TYLER — Russell-Tyler-Ruthton School Board directors-elect John Bloom and Tami Nelson were on hand to hear auditor Matt Taubert declare the district increased its fund balance totals to $310,951 from 2016 to 2017. Incumbent director Peggy Dunblazier is also a director-elect, but was at the table as a current board officer.

Each school district is required to hold unreserved funds of about 20 percent of the average of the past two years’ actual budget to meet state regulations. The auditor told the board the RTR district was at 42 percent.

Taubert presented the audit report at Wednesday night’s board meeting. However, board members expressed some frustration after hearing the “unqualified opinion” stamp of approval.

“For the past two years, we’ve received the audit report at a board meeting,” board chair Jeff Hanson said. “It’d be nice to get them beforehand so we can look them over first before voting to accept them. If there’s anything our staff can do to facilitate this, let us know.”

Taubert said the reason audit reports go down to the wire is because some of the numbers are in flux.

“Late receipts create adjustments that flow all the way through the report,” Taubert said.

He then reviewed the highlights of each fund, especially the food service fund, the debt service fund and the community service fund.

Each fund report included the budgeted amount, the actual amount, the difference and also the increase or decrease over the previous year.

The debt service fund was scheduled to close, so its balance of $20,838 was transferred to the general fund in order to bring the debt service fund to a zero balance.

“It’s fully paid off,” Taubert said.

He said some of the few strikes against the RTR District on their audit were the same minor discrepancies that plague all small entities. They are mostly to do with lack of enough separation of duties, which is caused by a small staff.

Taubert also said there were no difficulties in working with the school staff, no uncorrected statements, no disagreement with management and only one consultation with another accountant.

“We’re more than happy to discuss anything with you, but we can’t make financial decisions for you,” he said.

The board asked a few more questions regarding the audit report before it voted unanimously to accept it.

Also receiving unanimous board approval were:

• Posting the position of superintendent in order to start the search for a permanent person in that position. The board is entertaining the idea of sharing a superintendent with nearby schools. Interim Superintendent Lee Warne said he will not be here beyond the agreed one-year term and that there will be about 56 agencies looking for the same official. He said physically visiting a candidate’s current community should be a must-do item for the board in order to find a perfect match.

• The board will conduct a survey to get more input from district residents regarding the Flexible Learning Year as a change needs to be made soon since RTR is out of compliance with their original agreement.

• Canvassing the returns of votes for the 2017 School Board Election and authorizing issuance of election certificates, both with roll call votes.