Menahga Community Education fund continues to run a deficit – Park Rapids Enterprise

The Menahga School Board approved a revised budget for fiscal year 2024 after seeing a clearer financial picture from business manager Heidi Hagen.

She is a representative of School Management Services, LLC.

Since the board approved the budget in June 2023, Hagen noted that the district has better figures for salaries and wages following contract settlements, enrollment numbers and legislative impacts for special education cross-subsidies.

The district originally budgeted $12,660,992 in general fund expenses, but spent $13,105,607. This is a $444,615 difference, or 3.51%. For general fund revenues, the original budget projected $12,689,336, but actually saw $13,501,574. This is a $812,238 difference, or 6.4%.

The district is on track in its unassigned fund balance, she said. Board policy is to hold three month’s worth of operating expenses, which is $3.2 million. The current balance is $3,724,815.

The food service account has a $91,798 deficit. Hagen said expenses exceed revenues due to staffing contracts, equipment repairs, a new service line countertop and supplies, “most specifically milk and food costs.” The Minnesota Department of Education recommends a $320,000 target fund balance. By June 30, the Menahga School District anticipates a $32,810 balance. Hagen said she is continuing to monitor this account. Any deficit will be covered by the general fund.

An $11,904 deficit was anticipated for the community education budget, but Hagen reported it is $58,234. Expenses are $41,103, or 18.48%, more than projected. Revenues fell below projections by $5,227, or -2.48%.

“The community education fund has run in a deficit since fiscal year 2021,” she said. “The negative fund balance continues to grow. Most notably, the negative fund balance comes from our Early Childhood Family Education and School Readiness program.”

The debt service fund is primarily set by state statute and legislation, “therefore, this one is always the easiest to budget for,” Hagen said. The revised budget has $1,284,925 in expenses, with $1,369,407 in revenue.

The updated budget was unanimously approved at their April 15 meeting.


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