School district receives clean audit

Mary Bailey
Community Editor

In addition to certifying the tax levy for 2013 and voting to fund all-day, every-day kindergarten, the school board also heard from the city’s financial auditor on Dec. 6.

The auditors gave the district an A for financial accuracy, internal controls, and legal compliance.

The audit report shows that Forest Lake schools continue to spend less per student than the average state and metro districts.

In the 2011/2012 school year, the district took in more general fund revenue than budgeted and also spent less than budgeted.  The district ended the fiscal year with an unassigned general fund balance of about $5 million, equal to almost five weeks of spending.

The board voted to accept the financial audit and also approved budget adjustments for the 2012-2013 school year.

The 2013 tax levy was increased over 2012 in order to pay for indoor air quality upgrades at the high school. With the levy set, the board voted to begin the bidding process for that project.

The 2012-2014 custodial employment agreement was approved. The stipend for custodians with licenses was changed to specify $250 for special engineer, $300 for second class engineer, $350 for first class engineer, $400 for chief engineer, and $250 for pool.

The rule for reporting to work after a school closing was changed to match other agreements: Come to work as soon as possible; if delayed, make up the hours, take vacation, or take unpaid hours.

School-paid health insurance was increased to keep take-home pay intact. A floating holiday was added and the emergency leave policy was changed. Language authorizing lump sum payments was removed.

Custodial, maintenance and laundry employees earn from $14.51 to $21.89 per hour the first year and from $15.69 to $24.08 the fifth year, depending on the position.

Wage rates were adjusted: A step freeze in Year 1, one step granted in Year 2, and increases in the top step were approved. A shift premium of $.55 per hour applies for shifts beginning after noon. A janitor called back after his shift ends is paid double time for at least two hours of work.

An election equipment cost-sharing joint powers agreement with Anoka County was approved. Some grant money is available to help pay the annual fee.

The board also approved an agreement for providing mental health treatment services at a school site, and the student sex non-discrimination policy.

The superintendent’s goals for 2012/2013 and the district’s 2013 legislative platform received yes votes. A new art appreciation course also got the go-ahead.

Board member Karen Morehead reported on changes in the East Metro Integration Joint Powers District program.

Donations approved included a $500 cello, a wheel chair and guitars.