Hancock High sees significant increase in fund balance

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Hancock Public Schools received good news in reference to its fund balance from its audit for the year 2017-2018, which the superintendent said is a strong indicator that the district is moving forward in a positive direction.

HANCOCK — The Hancock Public Schools received good news from its 2018 audit, when it demonstrated a fund balance of $418,356, and increase of $118,142 over the 2016-17 fund balance. Superintendent Kip Beaudoin said that is a significant increase, and the highest fund balance the school system has seen in over five years.

“When we look at that change from $300,00 to $418,000,” Beaudoin said, “That’s a significant change for any district. That’s definitely going in a positive direction.”

Beaudoin said that like many school districts, Hancock has faced a steady enrollment decline over the past five years, and with the student losses, come losses in state revenue. Managing the budget with monies lost becomes quite a challenge, he added.

In the Hancock Schools, there was a 45-student enrollment decrease from the previous year. Enrollment for the 2013-14 school year was 825. By the 2017-18 school year, enrollment has declined to 721 students, a loss of 104 students in five years.

State revenues received by Michigan school districts are approved annually in a State Aid Act. The Act, approved by the State Legislature, provides a foundation amount per student of $7,631 per student. The school district, like others, was also impacted by the recent recession. The 2017-18 fund balance, however is a positive sign that the district is recovering financially, and is now moving forward.

“What this will enable us to do, which is the fun stuff,” Beaudoin said, “like all school districts, we want to increase circular services to children. And so anytime you can put money in your fund balance, you can leverage it.”

This year, more than $30,000 will be used to purchase new text books, he said.

“And that’s one of those things that you always want to do,” said Beaudoin, “is make sure that your teachers have the resources to teach from, and your children have the resources to learn from.”