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Audit shows $100,000 increase in New London- Spicer's general fund

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board has approved a fiscal 2008 audit that shows the district gained more than $100,000 in its general fund since last year.

Figures were presented by Jim Gilman and Darrin Ogdahl of Conway, Deuth & Schmiesing, PLLP during Monday's board meeting.

Ogdahl said the district's feat was impressive given the fact that operating costs are not getting cheaper and state aid levels for schools are not stagnating.

He reported that the district's general fund has increased to $316,925 since 2007. Gilman credited Superintendent Paul Carlson and Business Manager Barb Gjerde.

"Generally this district has a relatively good internal control system in place," Gilman said.

The district's revenue proportion pie chart also changed. According to Gilman and Ogdahl's figures, the district's property tax levy makes up 71 percent of its annual revenue -- a minor decrease from 73 percent in 2007.

Gilman reminded the School Board that Minnesota "hasn't given any real increases in funding" in recent years and that a smaller general fund -- like NLS' -- is a "factor that all schools in Minnesota are facing."

The district hopes to boost its general fund after voters last week approved an operational levy of $597 per student. The district operates on a $397-per-student levy; the new levy begins in 2010 and expires in 2017.

Following the audit report, Assistant High School Principal Joe Broderick provided statistics about the high school's quarterly attendance and unexcused absences.

Broderick's figures, dating back to the 2006-07 school year, showed a 93 percent average daily attendance for the high school. Carlson pointed out that the federal No Child Left Behind Act requires a 90 percent attendance rate for every school building in the district. Broderick said the district as a whole was at 95 percent.

Broderick said the majority of absences occurred during first period and involved students who woke up late or experienced car trouble. He said, however, that absence and tardy numbers have declined since 2006-07.

Broderick said the high school will create an attendance recognition program that awards punctual students. He said some local businesses are willing to donate prizes to the program.