Alexandra Public Schools is working on updating their COVID-19 mitigation guide so that decisions are based on more local, school level data instead of statewide data.

Superintendent Rick Sansted said at the Monday, Oct. 18, meeting that parents should be receiving information on Wednesday about the changes. This includes changes to the tiers and when masks will be mandated.

“Our goal is keeping kids safe and keeping our students and staff in school,” Sansted said.

Rick Sansted
Rick Sansted

He also said the district is taking a look at the quarantine process and also how the district can do more COVID testing for students in school. More information will soon be shared on both of those, he said.

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Watch the Friday, Oct. 22, Echo Press for full details.

Enrollment stable

Trevor Peterson, director of Business Services, shared some good news about enrollment. He said it is stable and showed a slight increase of about 1.1%. From the end of the 2020-21 school year in June until Oct. 1, there was an increase of 46 students.

“We are very pleased to be up from the June enrollment,” said Peterson.

Peterson presented the official Oct. 1 enrollment report at Monday’s meeting. The report showed there were 4,031 students enrolled in the district on Oct. 1 this year. This number is spot on with district projections – 22 students less (-0.5%) than this time last year and 46 students above (1.1%) the 2020-21 school year ending enrollment count.

Annually, enrollment projections are calculated in February using the most current enrollment data available to assist the school board in budget planning for the upcoming school year.

Trevor Peterson
Trevor Peterson

The district considers a number of sources when calculating enrollment projections, including district enrollment history, birth rates for Douglas County and 0-4 year old school census data.

“The district takes a conservative approach to projections calculated in February each year to help ensure that staff and financial resources are aligned for a balanced budget,” said Peterson in a news release from the district. “It’s encouraging to see that our district enrollment has remained stable during the ongoing pandemic and has increased over where we ended last school year.”

The enrollment report breakdown by level shows that on Oct. 1, the district had:

  • 1,678 elementary school students (grades K-5) – a decrease of 5 students from June.

  • 979 middle school students (grades 6-8) – an increase of 4.

  • 1,314 high school students (grades 9-12) – an increase of 47.

It also had 60 early childhood special education students, which is an annual enrollment placeholder as the count is not based on actual students but based on equivalency of service hours.

Peterson also noted that the largest class in the elementary grades is kindergarten. Additionally, the district welcomed 51 new open enrollment students for the 2021-22 school year.

Clean financial audit

The Alexandria School District received a clean financial audit opinion, according to information presented by Peterson.

According to information within the 2020-21 financial audit executive summary shared with school board members, a clean audit opinion is more precisely referred to as an unmodified opinion.

A clean, unmodified opinion is the best designation a school district can receive, said Peterson. He also noted that it means that the financial statements have been prepared using accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S., do not contain material misstatements and are fairly presented.

The district also received a clean, unmodified opinion on compliance for the major federal award programs report. Alexandria School District expends more than $750,000 annually in federal awards. The district is required to obtain an annual audit in accordance with the Single Audit Act.

The district is audited every year by an independent audit firm to ensure sound financial practices and management. The district finished the year with favorable budget variances for both revenues and expenditures, resulting in the unassigned fund balance to stand at $6.634 million.

General Fund expenditures in fiscal year 2020-21 were $54.778 million, meaning the district’s unassigned fund balance for the general fund stands at 12.1% of annual expenditures, which falls within the range of the board-adopted fund balance policy.