Strong Financial Stewardship
Even before the school opened, Lakes International Language Academy worked diligently to ensure a strong financial foundation. Sometimes that meant we bought used equipment and asked volunteers for sweat equity. The chairs in the gymnasium? An incredible eBay deal, generously delivered here from across the country via a donation from a long-haul driver. Wow!
Over the years, LILA has traded in labels for equipment such as the playground sets and, significantly, we’ve won more than $1.6 million in grant monies. Along the way, we’ve also received generous donations from families and friends of the school.
Today, we still look to volunteers, donations, and grants to help reduce our expenditures. Moreover, the LILA administration relies on careful planning, frugal purchasing, and strict budgeting to stretch all of our revenue sources.
We're Committed To Responsible Financial Management
For ten consecutive years, LILA has received the School Finance Award from the Minnesota Department of Education, which recognizes public schools that achieve state financial compliance, have a positive fund balance, and demonstrate financial stewardship through board and administration attendance of finance training.
- LILA has received a “clean audit” every year from independent auditors, the best opinion an independent audit firm can give.
- LILA manages a balanced budget of over $9 million annually.
LILA Submits An Annual Financial Report To The Minnesota Department Of Education
Each year public schools are required to publish financial data about the previous and current years, to help the public be aware of financial standings. LILA, as a charter school who contracts out its food service and transportation, has a fairly small number of funds.
- The General Fund is what LILA uses to meet the education needs of its students.
- The Community Service Fund represents for-fee programs, like Explorer Club and summer camps.
- The Fund Balance is what the school has accumulated in each of these funds over time; any net income for the year is added to the fund balance.
At the end of fiscal year 2016 on June 30, LILA had a Fund Balance of $1,876,107. This represents a balance of 24.1% of expenditures. Though $1.9M seems like a very large amount (and it is!), keep in mind that the school board has intentionally worked to build the Fund Balance in order to weather the unpredictable range of pupil aid the State of Minnesota holds back each year and pays out the following fiscal year. The "holdback" amount in recent years has been as high as 40% of LILA's promised state aid. In addition, $1.9M represents only about 3 months of operating capital. A significant positive fund balance helps the school operate without borrowing money to bridge the gap between what the state pays in the current fiscal year and the payout of the holdback in July and August, avoiding high interest rates on those loans.
Other key financial facts from the audit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016 include:
- Total General Fund revenues were $7,877,870 as compared to $7,778,847 in expenditures.
- Capital assets have been reported at $15,101,188, net of depreciation.
- 89% of the school's unrestricted resources are spent on instruction.
LILA had no audit findings for fiscal year 2016.
Audit reports for the previous fiscal year are available by November 30 each year. Click to read the Revenue and Expenditure Report.
Board-approved monthly finance reports are available on this website under School Board Minutes.