During the 2011-2012 fiscal year, Farmington Public Schools caught a few breaks.
Executive Director of Business Mary Reynolds told board members during their meeting Tuesday that the district netted an $800,000 tax tribunal overage paid to Oakland County, underspent grant money to the tune of $1.3 million and saved $218,000 thanks to a mild winter and spring.
Added to self-funded insurance benefits coming in $632,000 under projections and wages/FICA/retirement and costs for substitutes coming in $391,000 under budget, expenditures came in about $2.8 million under budget, Reynolds said.
Revenues also came in under budget, by $163,000 or .1 percent, she added.
Kreger said that while the district finished the year with a $24.1 million fund balance, or 16.9 percent, more than 11 percent is restricted or designated for particular expenditures. The district's unencumbered fund balance, 5.17 percent, is enough to cover nine days of expenditures.
"That's really about half of what you had last year," Kreger said.
Eric Formberg, CPA, a partner with Plante Moran, explained that the fund balance "buys you time to plan" for changes in funding and expenditures. As an example, he said, the rate the district will pay for employee retirement recently changed three times before the district had to make a payment. It also helps the district avoid short-term borrowing, prevents operating in a deficit and helps maintain the district's credit rating, he added.
The district received an "unqualified, clean opinion", Reynolds said in a memo included with the audit materials. The audit was prepared by Plante Moran, PLLC, and two of the team members are Farmington Schools graduates: Nevra Kreger, North Farmington and Emily Laird, Harrison.