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Barry ISD Receives a Clean Opinion for Independent Financial Audit

Jessica Courtright

Staff Writer


Steve Thompson CPA from Biggs, Hausserman, Thompson & Dickinson P.C. informed the Board of Education that the Barry ISD received a clean opinion from their Annual Financial Audit during the Barry ISD School Board meeting held Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2019, at the Barry ISD Administration Office.

Thompson emphasized that Barry ISD is responsible for providing the information for the independent auditors report and what an auditor only reviews the financial records to determine if they meet generally accepted accounting principles. Thompson said, “A clean opinion is the highest opinion given and that they believe the information to be materially correct.”

Thompson said that Barry ISD had a single audit that requires the auditors to look at federal programs. They do this to ensure that the programs comply with the grant. Generally, the program that the auditors look at is the IDEA program because it meets the threshold requirement by being well over $750,000.

Thompson reported that Barry ISD’s State of the Net Position “shows a negative net position of almost $8 million.” Thompson explained that the reason for this is the Barry ISD’s “Net Pension Liability and Net Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) totaling $13 million in liabilities” Statewide Michigan’s Net Pension liability and OPEB total $1.5 billion.

“This past year Net Pension Liability did go up, but that is only because it is less funded than it was the year before. However, the OPEB liability actually went down a little bit because it is more funded than it was last year,” Thompson noted.  He went on to state that “these are things that the BISD cannot control and added that all schools are currently in the same position, and the state is trying to work on the problem, but nothing has changed.”

Thompson pointed out that there were a couple of significant variances between the final budget and the actual expenditures. The reason he added was that there were a couple of new state programs that the Barry ISD received money for, but the funds cannot be booked as revenue until it is spent, so there is a large amount of deferred revenue on the balance sheet. However, that money will be spent this year when the programs begin to operate. Overall, said Thompson, “you are about 80,000 better than what you budgeted overall.”

The special education funds Thompson said expenditures were really close to what was budgeted. The most significant difference was that Barry ISD budgeted for a new bus and building improvements that did not happen. The Special Education Funds saw excess revenue of $205,000. He added that the Special Education fund balance is fine and that the board should not worry about it.

The general fund did, however, consume almost $100,000 of its fund balance during the past year. Saying “At the beginning of the year the balance was $343,000 and at the end of the year it was $245,000. So your general fund is getting down there. The current balance is 12.3% of the BISD’s expenditures.” For regular schools, he said it is recommended that they keep a general fund balance of around 15% of their annual expenses. So Thompson advised the board to keep a close eye on their fund balance.


In other business:


•    Board member Robert Becker reported on attending Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) Delegate Assembly. Briefly highlighting a few important things he learned at the conference. The only amendment that was offered, and it passed, was an amended bylaw dealing with providing alternative learning opportunities for children who have been suspended or expelled. “It was a great thought to bring in the judicial system and the mental health system to help. The only thing I thought is it left out parents, and I feel if you are going to have success dealing with that community, you need to involve the parents. That was.”  

•    Becker also attended a few Board of Education classes during MASB the two classes he said he was particularly impressed with was a Legislative Session and a School Finance Session. Adding that he has not had time to digest his notes and will be typing them up for the other board members and will give a more detailed report next month.

•   The Board unanimously voted to approve the hiring of Melissa Driscoll as the new GSRP teacher in Delton. During the last school year, she served as a preschool teacher at Star Elementary School in Hastings. However, she left over the summer for a job at the Kent ISD when questions surrounding the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) caused uncertainty. She approached Barry ISD and applied to the position because she wanted to come back.

•  The Board unanimously voted to approve the hiring of Stacy Gainwar for the Speech/Language Pathologist Position at the ISD. Gainwar will be new to the Barry ISD.

•    During the meeting, it was noted that Barry ISD’s PTO needs more members. Anyone interested in joining the PTO is encouraged to contact the Barry ISD. To become involved with the PTO community members do not need to be parents of students at the Barry ISD. The next meeting will be held on Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. in the West Learning Center 535 W Woodlawn Ave, Hastings, MI.

•    The Barry ISD will be holding its Fall Dance on Nov. 15 from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

•   The Barry ISD PTO will be holding a T-Shirt fundraiser. Funds raised will go to support BISD Classes. The PTO is also planning on raising funds to buy a shirt for every student.

•    The Barry ISD will also be selling Pura Vida bracelets to raise funds for Barry ISD classes.

•   A representative from the Barry ISD Affiliate Parents as Teachers (PAT) spoke to the board, noting that PAT accomplished their goal of 100% of students being up to date on immunizations. Board member Rob Becker commented, saying, “In this day and age of non-immunizers, I appreciate you doing that work.

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