Orono Schools financial audit earns highest possible rating

An audit report of the district’s financial operation during the 2013-14 school year received a “clean, unqualified” rating – the highest possible opinion that can be given — by the certified public accounting firm of Malloy, Montague, Karnowski, Radosevich and Co. (MMKR). The Orono School Board received the positive news at its meeting Dec. 8.

The annual financial audit found the district to be in compliance with all state and federal accounting regulations. In addition, a test of internal controls and compliance resulted in no findings.

“The district received a perfect report card,” said William J. Lauer, CPA, and a principal at MMKR. “The audit process went very smoothly,” he added later in the presentation. “Tom [Stringer, director of business services] and his staff do a great job. It’s a very positive report.” The firm spent an estimated 350 hours reviewing district documents and testing financial transactions to reach its conclusion.

The unassigned balance in the district’s main operating fund grew by a half-percent to 20 percent of the General Fund. That is comparable to the statewide average, Lauer noted. An adequate fund balance is considered an important indicator of how well a district’s finances are managed. An adequate fund balance provides a district with protection against unanticipated expenditures. In recent years, it has also provided the district adequate cash flow when the Legislature shifted aid payments.

The district’s Food Service and Community Education funds were also found to be in good standing. Positive balances in these enterprise funds are important because otherwise money from the General Fund would need to be reallocated to cover any shortfall(s).

In an analysis over the past 19 years, audited financial records show the district, on average, controls actual costs to within a half-percent each year compared to the budget that the School Board approves.