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Article courtesy of the Fairmont Sentinel by staff writer Brooke Wohlrabe  - October 23rd 2019

Read this article and more at the Sentinel Website

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont School Board on Tuesday received news that the district has received a clean audit report from Eide Bailly.

Eide Bailly LLP is a regional certified public accounting and business advisory firm headquartered in Fargo, N.D. A representative of the firm, Blake Bode, shared some findings from the 80-page report.

There is currently about $9.7 million in the district’s general fund balance, which is made up of two primary sub-funds. One is the unassigned fund balance, or cash flow, which holds $3.7 million. This is equivalent to two full months expenses of running the district. The other $6 million is in assigned fund balances.

Bode said the general fund is determined by the number of students the district serves. Fairmont has remained consistent over the last 10 years in that regard.

“That’s a good thing for somewhat of a rural area in southwest Minnesota,” he noted.

“A couple of things that a positive fund balance can contribute to is a favorable bond rating … it produces income and offers a solution for any shortfalls in revenues of unexpected expenditures that you may have,” Bode said.

The full audit report can be viewed in a few days on the school’s website —

Turning to other matters, Superintendent Joe Brown and board members all commented on how well the Minnesota Supreme Court’s recent visit to Fairmont went. The court held a traveling oral argument in front of students at Fairmont High School on Oct. 9.

“Everyone involved at the school should be very proud of how well that went,” said board member Mike Edman.

In other news, Brown said he and high school instructor Bob Bonin will attend the National Rural Education Association Conference in Louisville, Ky., this week. Bonin was nominated for vocational teacher of the year and ended up in third place. He will be honored at the conference.

In other business, the board accepted the resignation of Jessica Martinez, the district’s community outreach coordinator, effective Oct. 25.

Martinez was hired at the start of last school year to work with new-to-country families and English Language Learner families to help meet the needs of parents and students. She also helped with interpreting and translating, not just for the district but for the community.

Eight candidates were recently interviewed in both Spanish and English. Candidates also were all given a written assignment. Brown said the district expects to make a decision soon.

Brown noted there are 99 ELL students at the elementary school with just one ELL teacher. The recommended case load is 45 students per ELL teacher, so plans are in the works to evaluate the situation in the near future as the number of ELL students continues to grow.

In other action, the board:

o Accepted a donation of a new viola, valued at $500, from Hungry for Music Grant, for the school’s orchestra program.