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AUDITORS PRAISE FISCAL MANAGEMENT

Auditors gave the Maryvale School District high marks Monday night for fiscal management on its annual audit report.

Richard Romer, from the auditing firm of Lumsden & McCormick, told the School Board that the district is following proper accounting procedures -- while also watching the bottom line.

"For a district with a budget of nearly $30 million, you've done an excellent job of budgeting both your revenues and your expenses," said Romer. The audit showed the district had a $923,580 unreserved fund balance in 2003-04, before designating $675,000 to help reduce the tax rate increase. The tax increase for the current year was 6.2 percent, following five years of nearly flat increases.

Romer added that Maryvale also is doing a better job than many districts with planning ahead for financial emergencies.

Several years ago, the district established a tax certiorari reserve to cover successful property tax assessment challenges. Romer said that districts without such a reserve experience difficulties when they have to make payments.

However, according to officials, Maryvale's tax certiorari fund, which was established with a $2 million settlement from the former Westinghouse property, currently has only $11,156 remaining.

The board also approved a teacher assistant position for the English as a Second Language program to assist the current teacher with meeting state-mandated standards for 33 foreign-speaking students in the district.

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