Independent auditor recognizes UCS for excellence in financial management
Independent auditor recognizes UCS for excellence in financial management
Posted on 10/23/2018
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For the 15th straight year, an independent auditor has recognized Utica Community Schools for meeting the highest standards in financial management through its annual audit.

Donna Hanson, CPA and partner in the auditing firm of Plante Moran, recognized Michigan’s second largest school district for excellence in financial reporting, ending the 2017-2018 fiscal year with a balanced operating fund. 

“Under the Board of Education’s leadership, Utica Community Schools has demonstrated to its taxpayers that it meets the highest level of fiscal accountability and has eliminated a structural deficit that resulted from reductions in state funding,” Hanson said.

Utica Community Schools has received an “unmodified” opinion with no findings for the past 15 years – which Hanson said is due to strong financial controls and policies related to expenditures and meets all guidelines established for federal grants.

In addition, Hanson noted that the Board of Education has once again earned a Certificate of Excellence from the Association of School Business Officials International for the sixth year.

“This audit again reflects the Board of Education’s accountability to residents and our focus on providing students the best educational environment with the revenue provided by state lawmakers,” Board President Gene Klida said. “This Board of Education will continue to advocate for our children with state lawmakers by demanding a funding system that recognizes the true cost of educating a student.”

The 2017-2018 audit indicated the district finished with $272 million in expenditures, with 80 percent of its costs directly supporting instruction, including teachers, counseling and paraprofessionals. Hanson noted that UCS has one of the highest percentage of expenditures directly supporting classroom instruction among regional and comparable school districts.

Overall, revenue for the school district is $274 million, with 83 percent of the funding coming from the State of Michigan.

Hanson noted that the district has effectively addressed the long-term impact of reduced state funding.  Reductions in state revenue occurring in 2011-2012 have not been restored.

“This audit reflects that through the Board of Education’s financial leadership, UCS has addressed the district’s financial realities and brought expenditures in line with revenue,” Hanson said. “The focus now moves to maintaining a structural balance in future years.”

Board Treasurer, Dr. Robert Ross noted that the UCS community will continue to work together to create financial stability. “I know there will certainly be more challenges ahead, but we have clearly demonstrated that by working together we can meet these issues head on by focusing on what is best for our students,” Dr. Ross said.  

District officials said they remain committed to working with state lawmakers to advocate for increased school funding. The UCS Board of Education has formally supported the work of the School Finance Research Collaborative.

Audit Presentation PowerPoint