Audit shows Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System fiscally sound

Muskegon Heights, MI: The accounting firm of Vredeveld Haefner LLC has completed their audit field work and draft financial statements document and concluded that the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System has ended the 2017-2018 school year utilizing $112,980 out of general fund fund equity, resulting in an approximate 14% general fund fund balance as a percent of 2017-18 expenditures. The original 2017-18 budget anticipated utilizing $540,211 of fund equity in order to purchase new curriculum, resources, and implement critical aspects of the Partnership Agreement with the Michigan Department of Education. New grant funding covered the difference between the original budget and final expenditures.

Peter Haefner, CPA and partner at Vredeveld Haefner LLC stated, “Muskegon Heights PSAS, as a non-profit charter, is up against some unique finance challenges. Their per pupil funding is at the base level in the state and they are required to pay 3% of that to their Charter Authorizer, Muskegon Heights Public Schools. Instead of supporting the school, this fee and all local property taxes, with the exception of the countywide technology and security enhancement millage, are sent to the previous district as a part of the debt repayment plan. Despite this, the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System’s ending general fund fund balance is approximately 14% of actual 2017-18 expenditures.”

Academy Board President Garland Kilgore shared the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System Board is excited about the results of the 2017-2018 Financial Audit. He said, “Under Superintendent Garcia’s leadership, the Academy has secured additional grant funding and renegotiated some existing contracts with vendors to reduce costs, all the while increasing academic success for students.”

“The tide is turning, and we are excited for the future of Muskegon Heights’ students and community!” said Kilgore.
“The Partnership Agreement is in effect until the year 2021 and includes a stable plan to educate our students in our community.  We are proud of the academic and financial progress in Muskegon Heights and are confident that Superintendent Garcia and her team will continue to go above and beyond to ensure greater academic growth for our students.”

Superintendent Garcia shared that the increase in fund balance is largely due to additional grant funding. “The 2017-18 budget was developed to provide greater supports to students and teachers through new curriculum, supplies, and coaching supports.  The MHPSAS Board supported using a portion of the fund balance in the original budget, knowing these new expenditures are necessary for our students to make academic progress. During the course of the year our administrative team sought and received several grants to help reduce the impact on the fund balance,” said Garcia. “I am proud of the work of our team,” she added.

“Muskegon Heights is an amazing place to work,” stated Superintendent Garcia. “There are clear indicators of success: a sound fund balance, increased academic achievement and the installation of a new playground for our students and our community on October 16 at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy. We are fortunate to have the support of families, community members, local, and statewide partners; all who want the best for Muskegon Heights’ students,” said Garcia.

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