There were positive financial reports all around at the Yuma School District-1 Board of Education monthly meeting, Monday night at the district office.
Scott Szabo of Lauer, Szabo & Associates, PC, provided the annual audit report for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
He said it was a good audit, with a clean opinion, and everything went smoothly.
The General Fund Fund Balance increased by $613,740 to $6.69 million — which represents about nine months of operating expenditures.
That is nearly at the same level it was at in 2016. It dropped in the following two years as Yuma-1 put some of its own funds toward necessary capital improvement projects, but has increased again in the last two years.
Superintendent Dianna Chrisman noted that with the passing of the bond issue, and the projects done in recent years, the district should not have to be spending down reserves on such projects.
Szabo also pointed out the district has $600,000 in Capital Reserve Fund, explaining those are unrestricted funds so the district could utilize that money any way it wanted.
It also was noted the district’s enrollment has increased by nearly 100 students since 2017, resulting in more per pupil funding from the state. Szabo said there are no financial concerns with Yuma-1.
The board heard more positive news during a budget update later in the meeting.
Chrisman reported that the repeal of the Gallagher Amendment in the November election will be a positive for school budgets. The passage of the vaping tax (Proposition EE) will help rural schools for three years, as that is where those funds will go before eventually being earmarked for free preschool for all in Colorado.
She said the passage of the state income tax reduction hurts some, but is offset by Gallagher being repealed.
Chrisman also noted there is about $500,000 in the current budget that likely will not be spent.
Add that to the General Fund Fund Balance, and the $600,000 unrestricted funds in Capital Reserve, and the district has quite a bit of available funds.
Chrisman said the district almost is too healthy, and there are areas within the district that could use more funding.
Therefore, district leaders are having discussions about where funding could be increased to benefit students and staff. Chrisman said a detailed list will be presented for discussion at the board’s December meeting. The 2020-21 budget then will be finalized in January.
Board members noted more bus drivers could be hired with some of those funds.
In another financial-related development, the board discussed and approved holiday bonuses.
The district has budgeted for a $100 bonus.
However, board member Lyndsey Galles said she thinks it should be increased this year, considering all the challenges and hassles the staff have endured over the past year. The other board members agreed, approving a $200 holiday bonus.
Chrisman provided a short update on the $32 million renovation/expansion project.
She said the auxiliary gym at Yuma High School is on pace to meet its early January completion schedule. The gym floor will be installed soon.
The footings have been poured for the new CTE wing, and it will start “going vertical” in December. There will be more details in December, Chrisman said.
She did report that an interesting hole was found under the room located just south of the west entrance. That room has been demolished, and that is when the hole was found as crews cut through the concrete flooring.
The consent agenda included the following personnel recommendations: Ronella Noble, YMS Volunteer Knowledge Bowl Coach; Kristy Rutledge, YMS Volunteer Knowledge Bowl Coach; Asuzena Ailamirano, custodian, and; Norah Sanchez, MES secretary. Separations and resignations were: Nativadad Echavarria, custodian; Marisela Estrada, counselor assistant/registrar, and; Anne Ptacnik, MES secretary.