SSUSD Board Approves Financial Report | New

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The Sierra Sands Unified School District School Board at its meeting on Thursday approved the district’s unaudited Actual Financial Report for 2021-22.

District Finance and Budget Director Lori McGuire said the report is a state-required report that presents the district’s financial activity for 2021-22 against estimated actual numbers projected through June 30. .

“The report contains comparative data regarding the estimated general fund year-end totals presented at the time of the adoption of the 2022-23 budget, and the unaudited actual results of all funds for the 2021-22 fiscal year after the closing of the books but before the official audit,” she said.

She said the variances in general fund income and expenditure items are associated with several factors.

“Education Protection Account allocation changes in the last quarter of the fiscal year affect the district’s overall plan to utilize other sources of funding such as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund,” McGuire said. “Other factors affecting planned spending are ongoing issues with contractors providing services due to understaffing and equipment delivery delays.”

She said the estimated actual numbers were prepared assuming the district would receive an EPA allocation of approximately $13 million.

“When preparing the actual unaudited numbers, the actual amount of EPA funding received was approximately $23.5 million,” she said. “Because EPA funds are to be applied to teaching elements, an additional $10.5 million in EPA funding was applied to salaries and benefits, when the estimated actual numbers assumed that a significant portion of salaries and benefits would be funded by funding from CARES and ESSER.

McGuire said this caused significant discrepancies between the estimated actual numbers and the unaudited actual salary and benefits numbers.

“Special education contributions were lower than expected due to the use of EPA and ESSER funding to cover these costs,” she said.

She said the district borrowed $5 million from its reserve to meet general fund expenses, but the temporary loan was repaid in June by the end of the year.

“The district continues to meet GASB 54 reserve requirements,” McGuire said, adding that dollars residing in Fund 17 reserve are committed for cash solvency purposes. She stated that other end of fund balances are committed for the specific use of the fund and no other. These include facilities and maintenance initiatives.

“Funds residing in the Inyo-Kern Schools Funding Authority are earmarked for district facility needs,” she said.

“Following the advice of the board of trustees, the Sierra Sands Unified School District was able to maintain a positive ending fund balance, as well as the board’s required 5% reserve in the unrestricted general fund,” McGuire said. “The district continues to spend in deficit for years to come, and it will be necessary to develop a fiscal stimulus strategy over the next few years.”

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