Fort Dodge Community School District

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FD Schools Financially Stable - from The Messenger

October 14, 2020

Despite challenges caused by a global pandemic that closed schools for five months, the Fort Dodge Community School District is financially sound, district Director of Financial Services Brandon Hansel told the Board of Education on Monday night.

"2020 has been a year unlike any other and it has impacted every aspect of our life and our financial life here in the district has not escaped that reality," he said.

With schools closing early in mid-March, the district missed out on several funding sources, Hansel told the board. Had the district not closed, it would have received $250,000 in Medicaid billing for special education services; $25,000 in facility rentals; $50,000 in miscellaneous local grants and gifts; and $25,000 in activity trip reimbursements.

However, because the district closed the school year early, it did save on some expenses it did not incur, including $180,000 for substitute teachers; $204,000 in unfilled positions; $206,000 in professional development; and reduced utilities and diesel fuel use.

For fiscal year 2020, which ended June 30, the district budgeted $46,860,792 for expenses, and spent $46,506,841 of that budget, Hansel told the board.

Of those expenses, $37,169,614 were wages and benefits paid to district staff, or just under 80% of the year's budget, which is what the district aims for, Hansel said.

Overall, the FDCSD is at or near target in all major ratio metrics for budgeting, he said.

Hansel also told the board that the district's cash flow capacity has increased over the past year, as shown by the day's net cash ratio.

Using data from FY20, it costs $127,416 per day to operate the school district. On June 30, the district had a combination of cash and investments on hand totaling $14,063,038, equaling 110 days of operating cash flow if the district were to not have any incoming revenue. The district aims to have 90 to 120 days of daily expenses on hand, Hansel said.

Hansel said he is concerned about the district's activity fund because it had already been declining over the past several years before the school closure in the spring. With the lost revenue from canceled sports activities and capacity limitations at games and meets, the district is still incurring the expenses of running the sports.

"I'm concerned about the balance in the long term," he said.

All things considered, Hansel said, the district had a great year.

"It could have been a lot worse," he said. "We successfully navigated the school closure and still were able to accomplish many of our financial goals."

He applauded the district directors and principals who executed the budget strategy well.

"The district is in rock solid financial footing going into this year," Hansel said. "And we'll be glad that we are, looking at what's coming our way."

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