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School district audit reveals positive trends

Business Manager Donna Cancio’s presentation of the financial audit of the Estacada School District for 2013-14 was peppered by applause.

After years of tough financial times, the 2013-14 audit revealed largely positive trends.

The audit was discussed during the School Board meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 14.

“We have issued the Estacada School District the highest level of opinion that we can issue,” said Jeremy Gingerich of Wilcox Arredondo & Co, the firm hired to perform the audit. “It’s called an unmodified opinion, which means we didn’t have to say ‘Everything is good except for...’ So that is a great accomplishment for the district.”

Cancio told the board that the district’s net position has increased for the second year in a row.

The district received $680,826 more than it spent during the 2013-14 year continuing with the positive trend started the year before, in which it received $92,353 more than it spent.

These increases came on the heels of four years of decline marking a loss of more than $2.5 million.

In addition, the district held an ending fund balance of $2,068,375 for the 2013-14 year, which allowed the district to start the 2014-15 year with $1,095,960 more than it had started the 2013-14 year with.

Cancio pointed to the capital projects fund as the only one that had decreased, which was down $232,670 from the year before, in large part due to the demolition of the Three Lynx School building.

She warned that this fund is likely to continue to shrink with the expensive roof repair project at Estacada High School earlier this year.

Cancio explained later that this fund is not automatically replenished with state money.

The capital projects fund’s only steady income comes from the construction excise tax, which amounts to roughly $60,000 a year for the district.

That sum doesn’t amount to much when it comes to school building repair projects, Cancio said.

She said she is encouraging the board to consider options to boost the district’s capital projects fund by either pursuing bonds (which would require voter approval), applying for grants or to transfer money from the district’s general fund.

“If we don’t do something affirmative, that capital projects (fund), it just dwindles and dwindles and dwindles,” she told the board.

Superintendent Marla Stephenson took a moment to publicly thank Cancio for managing the budget and steering the district toward positive financial trends.

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