Expenses were less than budget last year

By Jenna Baker


The main topic of discussion at the October New York Mills School Board meeting was the presentation of the school’s 2019-20 audit by Eide Bailly. Present via Zoom was Coutney Richman of Eide Bailly who gave an overview of the findings, funds and balances of the school district.

Overall, Richman said that all findings were very common not only for schools, but for businesses of all types and were also consistent with the previous year. She explained that the district received a “clean” report, noting that this is a professional opinion and that it is one that was also given last year.

Another highlight noted by Richman was the district’s expenses were less than what was budgeted for, which she accredited to conservative budgeting. She also thanked the district, including Business Manager Marsha Maki, for their hard work to help prepare the audit.

Richman also shared that the district has seen growth in the total fund balances over the years. She explained that certain funds are classified as restricted or assigned, with restricted funds being controlled by the state in regards to what they are used for and assigned funds being controlled by the district. 

Additionally, Richman provided a recommendation for the district to strive to maintain a minimum unassigned fund balance in an amount that is no less than six week of operating expenditures. 

Superintendent Blaine Novak noted that while the district isn’t quite at the six week mark, they are almost there and are much closer to that number than in years past. He also said that overall, the audit was very positive. 

Later in the meeting, the board approved the receipt and review of the 2019-20 audit.

Also present at the meeting were a handful of teachers who are new to the district for the 2021-22 school year. The board took time to hear from those present regarding their experience thus far. All staff present noted having a positive introduction to the district and community.

The newest additions to the teaching staff at New York Mills include: Doug Schulz (high school science), Kate Schanning (high school special education), Kelsey Pieschke (high school social studies), Alecia Wahlin (5-8 special education), Cambria Jacobs (5-12 band director), Taylor Lehti (third grade teacher), Madison Cichy (second grade teacher) and Adele Esala (elementary interventionist).

Additionally in regards to staffing, the administration gave a shout-out to the district’s technology staff of Nick DeVillers and Jason Hoaby for all their everyday work, particularly with installing the interactive TVs in classrooms and educating on their use. 

Also at the meeting, the board heard from High School Principal Michelle Young who provided a variety of updates from the high school end. She informed the board that environmental sensors have been installed in the high school bathrooms to detect vapors, extreme noises and the like. Young explained that students are aware of these sensors and that there are also cameras placed in the hall, outside the bathroom entrances which turn on if the sensors detect anything so those coming out of the bathroom at the time of the incident are recorded. 

In addition, Young and Novak noted the numerous events that have recently wrapped up or are coming up for the district. The end of the quarter is November 5 with conferences on November 11. In the elementary, they recently participated in Walk to School Day as well as bus safety training. Events that are also on the horizon are playoffs for most fall sports, the school play and Community Carnival. 

The next regular meeting for the New York Mills School Board is Monday, Nov. 22 at 5:30 p.m.