School districts keep finances in good order


The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) District and Up-Island Regional School District (UIRSD) received “unqualified” opinions, which are the best possible, on audits of their financial statements for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013 (FY13). Management letters from the accounting firm of Sullivan, Rogers and Company (SRC) to both districts made recommendations for strengthening internal controls and operating efficiency, and for preparations to implement new reporting requirements for pension benefits.

School business administrator Amy Tierney handed out copies of the high school’s management letter and audit report and discussed them at the school committee’s meeting Monday night. Chris Rogers, a certified public accountant with SRC, had planned to meet earlier in the evening with both the high school and Up-Island committees to discuss the audits but had to cancel due to illness.

For the MVRHS District, the auditors reported net assets exceeded the district’s liabilities by $8,034,148 for FY13. The district’s total net assets decreased by $2,562,858. The unassigned fund balance totaled $368,372, or 1.8 percent of the total general fund expenditures and transfers out.

Member town assessments for the high school came to $13,589,025, which is an increase of $413,763 or 3.14 percent more than $13,175,262 in FY12.

The auditors recommended that the high school address a $37,000 deficit in the school cafeteria revolving fund. Ms. Tierney explained that the cafeteria’s revenues decreased last year after new regulations went into effect that banned the sale of many popular snack items and beverages. She said the situation has already been addressed by adding the cafeteria’s management fees back into the FY15 budget to keep the revolving fund positive. Also, Ms. Tierney said she and MVRHS accounts manager Mark Friedman will look at the balance at the end of the current school year and determine whether more funds should be appropriated.

The auditors also recommended that the high school implement a standard warrant schedule to pay all vendor bills at a specific time. Ms. Tierney gave the school committee members a copy of a new warrant schedule she had already prepared, which includes dates for them to come in to sign documents on a regular basis.

After hearing Ms. Tierney’s report, it was the high school committee’s consensus that it would not be necessary to reschedule a meeting with Mr. Rogers.

Ms. Tierney emailed a copy of the UIRSD’s management letter and audit report to The Times on Tuesday, as requested. The auditors reported that the district’s liabilities exceeded its net assets by $847,167 at the close of FY13. Total net assets decreased by $733,986 from FY12. The unassigned fund balance totaled $310,015, or 2.9 percent of the total FY13 general fund expenditures at the end of the fiscal year.

UIRSD assessments for member towns Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury totaled $8,730,751, which is an increase of $487,805, or about 5.9 percent more than FY12. The audit report noted the key elements in the change in the district’s net position from FY12 are a decrease in capital grants and contributions of approximately $71,0000, and an increase of $50,000 in the district’s contribution to the Dukes County pooled Other Post-Employment Benefits Trust.

The auditors’ management letter recommended that the UIRSD accompany all of its financial journal entries with appropriate supporting documentation.