ALPENA - The Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District received its 2011 audit results during its meeting on Thursday and even though it had to reach into its fund balance, certified public accountants Philip Straley and Mark Sandula of Straley, Ilsley & Lamp P.C. said the AMA ESD was standing on solid financial ground considering the current economic conditions.
The AMA ESD used $302,628 of its fund balance, some from its special education fund and some from its general fund. Superintendent Brian Wilmot said some of the need to draw from the fund balance was because the state of Michigan has reduced the amount of support it provides and the board decided to allot more money toward special education at the schools.
"We dipped into both of those funds and part of the reason is Lansing hasn't been coming through and revenues are down," Wilmot said. "It is also because we want to continue to provide what we consider essential programs to our schools and we continued to do that even though the revenue isn't there to support it. We made a purposeful decision to pay more than we typically do from our special education fund. We would have had a balanced special education fund, but we made that decision knowing our schools need all of the revenue they can get, so the board approved a payment larger then what we typically make."
According to Sandula the total revenues generated by AMA ESD was $9,400,276 and the expenses were $9,702,907, leaving a gap that was made up from the fund balance.
Board Chair John Pines said a lot of hard work and dedication goes into keeping the finances in order and it shows when a good audit report is received.
"Tony Suszek and his staff always do a great job and in times when things are getting tighter and less revenue coming from the state everyone on our administrative team do a great job watching and protecting the district's resources," he said.
Straley summed up the financial year with praise.
"I think all things considered, you had a pretty good year," Straley said. "Yes, you used a little bit of your reserve or fund balance, but again we have to consider the economic environment and the political environment."
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