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Auditors review NNCS financials with school board

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NORFOLK - The Norwood-Norfolk Central School District continues to maintain a healthy financial picture, according to representatives from Poulsen & Podvin, certified public accountants who provided board of education members this week with the results of their most recent external audit.

“The district’s done a nice job the last five years. The first year we did it you had no fund balance,” Richard E. Poulsen told board members.

Mr. Poulsen and Amy Rapholz presented a financial picture that was a turnaround from 2007 when, over an eight-year period, the district’s fund balance had dropped from $1.6 million into the red. At one time, the district’s fund balance stood at a negative $154,043.

As of June 30, the district’s total general fund balance stood at just over $6 million, according to Ms. Rapholz. That includes $4.2 million in restricted funds, which can be spent only for specific purposes - $1 million in capital, $201,861 in employee benefit liabilities, $100,930 in insurance, $201,861 in liability claims, nearly $2 million in retirement contributions, $126,061 in tax certiorari, $361,027 in unemployment insurance and $265,799 in worker’s compensation.

“You had several restricted balances here,” Mr. Poulsen said.

The district had $514,101 in assigned funds and $1.3 million in unassigned funds, according to the auditors.

An assigned fund balance comprises amounts intended to be used for specific purposes. The unassigned fund balanceincludes all amounts not contained in the other classifications. Unassigned amountsare technically available for any purpose. District officials have designated $505,000 from the current fund balance for next year’s budget, Mr. Poulsen said.

The district also had $13,143 in unrestricted cash in their school lunch fund, according to Ms. Rapholz.

“Most have had losses or ended with a deficit fund balance,” she said.

“Your school lunch fund is in better shape than most districts in the north country,” Mr. Poulsen said.

Among the district’s revenues from local sources in 2012-13 was $4.2 million in real property tax items, $1.7 million in other tax items, $21,995 in charges for services, $26,736 for use of money and property and $255,890 under miscellaneous.

Altogether, they had $6.3 million in revenue from local sources, along with $12.6 million from state sources and $2,874 from federal sources. Total revenues were $18.9 million.

Total expenditures for the year, according to the auditors, were $18.5 million, which included $1.7 million for general support, $8 million for instruction, $975,506 for pupil transportation, $5.5 million for employee benefits and $2.3 million for debt service.

The only issue auditors found in the district, Mr. Poulsen said, was the amount of fund balance. New York state law sets a limit of up to 4 percent of the approaching year’s budget that can be retained in a rainy day account and spent as needed and Norwood-Norfolk’s was 6.17 percent.

But, he said, that’s an issue facing every school district as they attempt to balance their budget in difficult financial times.

“You folks are in good shape,” he said.

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