Statement on Auditor General Report 1-25-22

NPSD Statement on PA Department of the Auditor General Performance and Audit Report
Posted on 01/25/2023
Good afternoon. The Auditor General conducted a performance audit of 12 out of the 500 school districts in the commonwealth concerning the use of General Fund Balances as it relates to applying for Act 1 referendum exceptions, designating funds, and increasing taxes. This audit occurred during the 21-22 academic year and it is important to note that “no non-compliance with laws or regulations for the district” were found. However, there are a few matters from this report that I would like to address in further detail for our community.

First, the report emphasizes the fact that North Penn has “applied for” exceptions to Act 1 in three of the four fiscal years but only utilized the exception once. In actuality, the exception has been utilized only once over the course of the last ten years. It is also important to note that we utilized this exception to help us support our special education programs. At the beginning of our budget process, we apply for exceptions in the event that the Board of Directors chooses to utilize the exception.

Second, the report also emphasizes the size of our fund balance. This fund balance has resulted in the NPSD receiving a Aa1 Moody’s Bond rating. This rating has been obtained by only 20 school districts in the commonwealth and results in lower interest rates for borrowings applied to capital projects such as those used for Montgomery Elementary, Knapp Elementary, and eventually for the North Penn High School project. As you are aware, lower interest rates result in lower costs for the District in the long run. Also of note, the tax rate in NPSD has been the 5th lowest in Montgomery County.

Finally, it is important to share that the NPSD has won the ASBO Meritorious Award for excellence in budgeting for the past seven years. We have also instituted an award-winning tax rebate program to support those on a fixed income in our community. If you have any questions regarding our budgeting process, I would encourage you to tune into our finance committee meetings each month to observe the thorough and detailed budget presentations that ultimately lead up to a budget vote in June.

I am disappointed to hear the misleading rhetoric regarding this report. The North Penn School District has, and will continue to, abide by all laws and regulations as we provide a quality education for all of our students.

For your convenience, I have linked the Auditor General’s Report in addition to the response from the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO).

Todd M. Bauer