Flint, MI— A recent budget audit of Flint Community Schools showed a positive fund balance going into the 2022-23 school year with “tremendous opportunity” due to incoming federal COVID relief funds, according to auditors.

The audit by Plante Moran, a public accounting firm, revealed a $15.4 million increase in the district’s fund balance, raising it to approximately $27.3 million.

This is good news for the district, as last year’s audit predicted an $8.2 million deficit for the 2021-22 school year.

“Majority of this increase related to an increase in revenue that was either not available or not yet earned as of the end of the year, and therefore wasn’t eligible to be recognized during the school year but will during the current school year ending in 22,” Holly Stefanski, assurance senior manager for Plante Moran, said.

Both expenditures and revenues were less than the approved budget. The district received approximately $7.1 million less than the projected $88 million in revenues. However, they also spent approximately $5.4 million less than the predicted expenditures of $71.1 million.

Most expenses, approximately 64%, went to classroom or instructional support.

Of the federal expenditures, 48% were related to recurring funding, also known as “legacy grants,” Stefanski said. This means the district can count on the funds again in the future.

However, 52% of federal expenditures were related to one-time, emergency COVID funds. The district has already received $54 million and expects another $99 million. Currently the district is seeking public input on how to spend the incoming funds.

“There’s been a lot of money awarded, but at the same time, it does add some additional burden in terms of planning and administration of those funds,” Stefanski said.

The auditors recommended the district ramp up their business processes by investing in talent and cross training.

Stefanski said that the district’s revenue has been cut in half over the last decade, falling from $147 million in 2011 to $80 million in 2021.

“Business services, and some of the central services that are critical to the financial reporting and oversight and controls of districts are what has been historically sacrificed over the time,” Stefanski said.

Director of Finance Ayunna Dompreh said the district is developing a corrective plan to address the problem.

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...