General fund shows slight increase last year

By Chad Koenen


The New York Mills School District’s average daily enrollment grew last year to 768 students, while the general fund showed a slight increase.

During its regularly scheduled meeting last week, the NY Mills School Board heard its 2022 year end audit. The audit was presented by John Hagen and provided some positive news about the overall financial outlook and enrollment at the school district. For example, the school district increased its general fund balance by $133,000 last year.

Hagen said the increase was due to a number of factors including conservative budgeting for expenditures and revenues, as well as an increase in enrollment in 2022. 

The general fund balance has seen an increase over the past decade after being as low as just over $500,000 just 10 years ago.  While the school district is just below its goal of maintaining an unassigned fund balance of six weeks of operating expenses, Hagen said the school district has a healthy unrestricted fund balance of about 26 percent of operating expenses. Currently the district maintains an unrestricted fund balance of about four months, which Hagen said is about average when compared to other school districts in the region. 

The positive fund balance helps the school district take advantage of lower interest rates when it needs to borrow money, produces investment income, provides a source of working capital and offers a cushion for unexpected expenditures or revenue shortfalls in the future. 

Enrollment, which drives the revenue the school district receives, continues to increase at NY Mills School. The average daily enrollment at the school district was 768 students last year, which was the highest amount in at least 10 years and followed a dramatic drop the previous year, due in part, to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year the district had just an ADM of 726 students and in 2013 that number was at just 687 students. 

“A very important number for the district because it determines how much state aid you will receive into the district,” said Hagen. “Overall in 2022 a very nice jump back.”

In addition to the general fund balance and enrollment, Hagen highlighted the food service fund which showed a big increase in funds over the past two years. Hagen said much of the increase was due to additional federal funding coming into the school district due to all of the meals being paid by the federal government. That program, which was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, is now over so he said the food service fund will likely go down to its pre-pandemic levels in the near future. 

In other news

• Accepted a $750 donation from the East Otter Tail County Soil and Water Conservation to the NY Mills FFA.

• Approved Adam Wedde as a trap shooting coach, as well as the resignations of Mike Weller as a wrestling coach and Molly Perry as an elementary paraprofessional. 

• Enrollment has remained steady at NY Mills School. The school district has 841 students in prek-12th grade, which is up slightly from the first day of school and down just one student from the same point last year.