Good audit report for AMA ESD

ALPENA – The Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District Board of Education received a good audit report from Straley, Ilsley & Lamp P.C. at its meeting on Thursday evening. Auditors Philip Straley and Mark Sandula presented the audit to the board with good reviews, noting a total change in fund balance of $31,517 in the positive.

“Considering what schools are up against in this day and age, I think we had a very good year,” assistant superintendent Tony Suszek said. “We are watching the budget very closely. We get a lot of money from the federal government and we were sequestered earlier in the year. For an (intermediate school district) that’s a really sensitive area and we’re really watching that because that’s where most of our special education funds come from.”

The federal government has decreased funding for the AMA ESD and over the course of funding cuts, it was necessary to make certain changes with the district.

“Our general fund, which is from the state of Michigan, has been cut over and over and our local property taxes have decreased because of property values, so that continues to be a concern,” Suszek said. “Our administration and board continue to make the proper cuts when needed, but they also continue to provide high services.”

According to Sandula, the budget is continuing as anticipated. Sandula also said the AMA ESD was one of the only boards that had “absolutely no long term debt.”

Superintendent Brian Wilmot was pleased with the audit report and really commended the staff for their hard work.

“It was what they call a clean audit, and I think that’s a compliment to our staff. Our assistant superintendent Tony Suszek and his crew do a great job. Our administrative team works well together and we understand that we have a responsibility to the taxpayers to be great stewards of the resources they give us. We endeavor to do that, and I think we do a great job,” Wilmot said. “It was good to have it affirmed by an independent firm, they affirm that we’re doing what we’re supposed to with the resources, and that’s always good news. We don’t have any choice but to live within our means and have to find our way.”

In other business:

the board approved supporting the common core standards with a vote of 4-1, with trustee Richard Matteson voting no.

board members will be going through revised NEOLA policies and will take a second look at them at their next meeting.

the next board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 7, at 6 p.m. in the AMA ESD building.