At the January 28 meeting of the District 115 Finance & Operations Committee meeting, the Committee reviewed the District's external audit for the year ending June 30, 2020.
An external audit is an objective, systematic review of resources and operations, followed by a written or oral report of findings. Ms. Betsy Allen, a Principal with the Miller Cooper & Co., Ltd. accounting firm, specializing in government and school district audits, presented an overview of the District 115 Audit Report to the Finance & Operations Committee, noting no letters of deficiency. "This is an unmodified, clean opinion," she said. " It reflects the highest level of assurance we can give as auditors."
The District's external audit, conducted annually, is a key factor in determining the District's Aaa bond rating. Aaa is a relatively rare designation, connoting the highest possible rating that may be assigned to an issuer's bonds by any of the major credit rating agencies. As of January 2021, Lake Forest District 115 is just one of 22 school districts in the state of Illinois to receive this exemplary rating. This distinction is particularly meaningful because it indicates our District's reliability in meeting our financial commitments and, in turn, allows the District to borrow money with more favorable interest rates. In this way, the positive financial implications of a Aaa bond rating can be significant.
In her overview of the 127-page document which complies with the State's reporting requirements for schools, Ms. Allen highlighted for the Board three excerpts of the 2019-2020 External Audit that provide a good overview for community members who wish to examine the District's finances:
1. Management Discussion and Analysis on pages 16-24 of the External Audit document. This provides a high-level overview of the District's financial activities for the year ending June 30, 2020.
2. Basic Financial Statement on pages 25-34 of the External Audit document. This includes the District's Income Statement and Balance Sheet, a summary of the District's assets, liabilities, and capital for the year ending June 30, 2020.
3. General Fund Including Revenues, Expenditures, and Fund Balance on pages 95 - 127 of the External Audit document. This section outlines the District's budget, plus performance against individual line items for the year ending June 30, 2020.
A complete recording of the January 28, 20221 District 115 Finance & Operations Committee meeting, the Committee meeting, including Ms. Allen's report is available here.