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Column - Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns

Photo of Dr. Christine JohnsUCS Audit

Utica Community Schools has received its annual fiscal report card. The audit of our schools is an important analysis of our district’s financial records by an independent firm.  The firm, contracted by the UCS Board of Education to conduct the audit, is Plante Moran, one of the nation’s largest public accounting firms.

For the 16th straight year, Utica Community Schools received an excellent rating for meeting the highest standards for financial controls and accountability to taxpayers. The independent auditors awarded the district an “unmodified opinion,” which means strong financial controls and policies are in use and that the district met all guidelines for federal grants.

The financial results demonstrate the district’s ongoing commitment to maintaining a stable financial future for students, families and staff.  We are making gains in establishing the financial reserves that auditors identify as critical to protecting our schools against unforeseen emergencies or economic downturns.  Our Board of Education is committed to managing and utilizing resources responsibly and carefully.

This commitment to fiscal responsibility is demonstrated by the fact that the district’s budget is structurally balanced.  Simply put, we remain committed to living within our means with the funds allocated by the State of Michigan.  Our commitment to excellence is reflected by the fact that our expenditures are above similar districts for the percentage of funds targeted directly to classroom instruction.

In addition to providing an opinion on the UCS fiscal reporting, Plante Moran also discussed areas of financial concern that could impact our future.  One key area identified by the auditors is that UCS operates in an uncertain environment where our community does not control the amount of dollars allocated to the district.  This lack of local control makes UCS, and all Michigan districts, dependent on state lawmakers to set funding levels.  These funding levels do not address the inflationary costs of operations as well as responding to the changing needs of our students.

Utica Community Schools recognizes the importance of focusing resources on the strategic direction and priorities of our district.  Accountability is central to our work. For more information, please see the following link: http://www.uticak12.org/audit19.

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