September 19, 2014

Standish-Sterling audit shows food service fund balance waning

Federal regulations, high cost of fresh produce blamed

Posted

STANDISH — A 2012-13 fiscal year audit was presented to the Standish-Sterling school board Dec. 9, and the audit showed the district’s fund balance in its food service fund to be down to $5,838 — a reduction of almost $55,000.

Mark Janke, of the auditing firm Quast, Janke & Co., said the district’s food service expenses for 2012-13 were $1,004,611, while revenue was $949,940 — both down more than $20,000. Janke said the district’s evaporating food service fund balance calls for a change in the way the district serves meals.

“Something has to be done to either lower expenses or raise revenues,” he said.

Superintendent Darren Kroczaleski said federal regulations requiring more fresh fruits and vegetables be served to students are increasing the cost of food service.

“The lost money is contributed to the regulations and the mandates that our food service has to follow as far as what they can offer,” he said.

Janke told the board that many districts are struggling with costs associated with the federal guidelines.

According to Krocza­leski, the problem is not only associated with cost, but also with students disliking the food that is served.

“I suspect students got frustrated and just started bringing their own lunch,” he said.

The district is looking at ways to help with the food service issue, Kroczaleski said. He said the district is exploring a federal funding program that helps capture six cents per meal from the federal government if certain meal options are offered.

While some school districts in the area, such as Arenac Eastern, where Kroczaleski also serves as superintendent, are able to serve free lunch for all, Standish-Sterling does not have a high enough rate of students living in poverty to serve free lunch for all.

On the general fund side of the audit, Janke said the district’s revenue for 2012-13 was approximately $13,789,665, while expenses were $14,387,102.

Kroczaleski said both figures were lower than the year before, with revenues dropping about $642,730 last year and expenses going down about $202,559.

Revenue loss last year was due to the district losing 64 students, Kroczaleski said. He said the district reduced expenses by not hiring new employees to replace retiring or resigning staff members.

“We had folks leave last year, and we didn’t replace them,” he said. “We just readjusted our staff. So, through attrition, as folks leave or retire, we’re not replacing them, we’re just readjusting our current personnel.”

The audit showed the district’s general fund balance reduced by $597,437, which leaves the district with $3,942,715 in fund balance.

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