The Logan County school district got a positive audit last week from Laney White of Carr, Riggs, and Ingram, LLC at its monthly school board meeting.
“It was basically a good audit,” superintendent Marshall Kemp said. “He couldn’t help but point out that we have had a deficit budget for more than one year. But our finances are still strong, and we have to do that to keep offering the same services.”
Since the state government has put in some substantial cuts to the funding of public schools in recent years, the Logan County district has offset that by spending more money than it brought in.
The district has been able to absorb those costs because it built up a nice reserve fund during the years when the school system was well funded by the state.
“We’ve had some really good years, that means we can ride some of this out,” Kemp said. “Things at some point will get better and if not we will do what we have to do. I don’t want to put any doom and gloom out there. I prefer to remain positive that things will get better.”
Kemp has often said that when his school district was sitting on a substantial reserve fund that it wasn’t popular with the state department of education.
But now that it’s needed to keep services at their current level, the district is in better financial shape than those without a reserve.
“I am spending some of my reserve money now,” Kemp said. “That’s why we said we were holding back when we did.”
According to the audit, the district should be able to continue operating as it is for another year or two without harming its financial health.
Kemp said he isn’t very confident that the state legislature will be restoring the money taken away from the education budget this year.
“The general assembly has to deal with pensions and tax reform in the upcoming session,” Kemp said. “The tax reform might be a good thing because maybe that means more revenue that the state can use for any number of things - including education.
“They usually do very well by us. And until they can do very well by us again, we’ll have to do what we can with our reserves.”
Kemp said that funding at the federal level could also impact his district.
“I don’t know presently until we find out what Congress does,” Kemp said. “That could put a whole new wrinkle on things. If we fall of the fiscal cliff, that will change the complexion of what our budget looks like.”