AE receives financial audit, moves towards energy efficiency


TWINING — The Arenac Eastern School District (AE) was unable to repeat the success of fiscal year 2007, when the district added $104,373 to its fund balance, but AE Superintendent Rocky Aldrich is still confident about the direction the district is moving in.

“We’re doing extremely well,” Aldrich said, adding that AE’s generated revenues for fiscal year 2008, $3,075,948, and fund equity, $596,160, after using $83,257 to balance the 2008 budget, are impressive. “These figures are really high compared to systems our size.”

According to a copy of an audit presentation that was made to the AE Board of Education on Dec. 8, AE’s revenue increase was mostly due to the funding from the Saginaw-Chippewa India Tribe’s two-percent revenue sharing (AE received $155,354 in the last sharing session and $58,900 in the first round). However, due to a loss of 20 students in its blended count, leaving the district with a count of 286 students, funding from the state dropped $75,768 last year.

Aldrich says he doesn’t see an increase in state funding coming any time soon.

“There’s no ‘white knight’ coming out of Lansing,” he said.

Unfortunately for AE, its expenditures were also up approximately $212,172 from 2007. The district spent $3,130,779 in FY08.

Aldrich credited the increase in expenditures to the high price of fuel and energy that hit the district, and the rest of the country, last year. On the other side of the spectrum, though, Aldrich says the district is working to cut its expenses.

“We’ve had a reduction in staff. … We’ve been very proactive as to what we’ve done on energy,” Aldrich said. “We’ve been very energy efficient.”

The AE Superintendent added that to become energy efficient, the district’s lighting systems has been programmed to time out in empty rooms, the district began to use a closely monitored heating system and stopped heating the hallways of the school.

Overall, Aldrich says the energy efficiency is due to “A lot of common sense stuff.”

Also, he added AE is renting a building to the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District, generating revenue, and staff members have accepted a insurance package that will be cheaper in the long run.

Aldrich also says that he has high expectations for the district’s food service program.

“We’re hoping to make money this year,” he said. In FY08, AE only transferred $1,164 out of fund balance (included in the total amount of $83,257) for food service costs.

Also included in the AE fund balance transfer was $27,262 for athletics. Due to team travel, this amount was also affected by high fuel costs experienced last year and was approximately $2,000 higher than in FY07.


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