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Good news for Hancock school district

School Audit

The presentation from Eide Bailley on the school audit was extremely positive. Derek Flanagan presented the report and informed the board that the results were "clean" in the auditor's opinion. He went on to summarize the results of his firm's audit noting that the way the state is handling the General Education aid payments is causing many districts to have a cash flow problem. The Hancock District has been able to maintain a good percentage of cash despite the state's payment delays.

Since the audit's are done as of the end of June, many districts are seeing lower balances and higher receivables with the state funds coming in later in the year. He explained that 81 percent of the district's revenue comes from state aid which is dependent on student counts. The increasing enrollment numbers have been positive for the district. One chart he included in the report showed the ten year history of student counts which went from 216 in 2003 to 283 in 2012. "This is a nice positive to see," added Flanagan.

He concluded by thanking Lori Razink for all her help in supplying the needed numbers for the audit.

Bond refinancing

Probably some of the best news the district has received in a long time was the results of refinancing the 2005 school building bonds which has about five years remaining until expiration.

Patty Heminover of Springsted Inc. told the board members that the resale of the bonds went "very, very good." The bonds were purchased Monday afternoon by Bosc with a projected savings to the district of $77,000. The original projected savings was $64,000.

Heminover explained that a lot of this was due to the great rating the district was given. The rating was based on information gained through a conference call with administrators at the school and on financial history including indebtedness. The district received an A1 rating which is very good. It shows investors that the district has a stable outlook and is going to be around for awhile.

Six investment companies put in bids for the bonds with the Bosc bid coming in at an .70 percent interest rate. Part of this was based on a $50,000 buy down by Bosc of the note.

The $77,000 savings will not go into the general fund but rather reduces the debt payments. This means that taxpayers will see the savings probably starting in 2014. The closing date for the sale was set for Nov. 15.

Other action

* There was only one person present with a question about the school building project referendum.

* A parent at the meeting asked the board if it would be possible to put a phone in the school lobby so students can call home after practice or games when the office is closed. The administration will be looking into this further and discussing options with the phone company.

* There was some discussion on the purchase of a mini-bus that would be used for extra-curricular activities. The FFA group has offered to make a donation toward this purchase but, as yet, a bus has not been found.

* The board accepted a donation of $727 from the Hancock Commercial Club, raised at their Soup and Pie supper, for a new mat in the gym. The mat was put up by custodians and shop students.

* The annual report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement was reviewed and approved. This report will be published in the newspaper and on the school web site.

* One of the older school pianos was declared as surplus. It will be sold through silent auction during Parent-Teacher conferences at the school in November.