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Horizon receives clean audit opinion

Posted on December 23, 2020 by Taber Times

By Cole Parkinson
Taber Times
cparkinson@tabertimes.com

With 2020 rounding down, Horizon School Division had a chance to look at their audited financial statement.

BDO Canada LLP was virtually present at the school board of trustee’s Nov. 23 meeting to give members a quick snapshot of how their 2019-20 audited financial statement looked.

“This is a clean audit opinion,” started Will ZoBell, engagement partner at BDO. 

While a fairly large document, the delegation from BDO highlighted a few points that board members should take from the financial statement.

“There was an increase in accounts receivable from last year to this year. The main reason for that is there was an increase of about $247,000 from receivable from Alberta Infrastructure and that has to do with the upgrades at W.R. Myers and D.A. Ferguson, so that modernization project. Just waiting for some funds to come in there and that’s where the big increase is,” said Avice DeKelver, manager at BDO. “In the accounts payable, it did go up from last year. The two big reasons for that are, there is a $465,000 payable to Alberta Infrastructure for the windows that were a part of the upgrades to W.R. Myers and D.A. Ferguson. They had to be paid for by the division so those came out of your capital reserves and is now sitting in that payable. At year-end, there was $218,000 payable to Xerox for new printers for all of the schools. The last area I wanted to highlight was your potential capital assets have increased approximately $3 million, and the majority is from the upgrades at the schools as previously mentioned.” 

The pair also described various financials that highlighted the fact Horizon was in fairly good shape, despite an ongoing pandemic.

“The total financial assets were $7.1 million and the liabilities were just under $2.2 million. However, there are operating capital reserves of $3.4 million. So when I look at the liabilities plus the reserves, which is the money the board has set aside for operating and capital, that’s $5.6 million. So, it is still lower than the total financial assets of $7.1 million. Looking at that as a health indicator, that is quite positive,” continued ZoBell.

Cash and cash equivalents were $2,300,066, accounts receivable were $752,266 and operating portfolio investments were $4,050,752 for a total of $7,103,084 in financial assets.

Liabilities totalled $3,274,532 while net financial assets sat at $3,828,552, and non-financial assets totalled $64,635,192.

While COVID-19 played a major factor for all the dips in the audit, they also gained some money back due to no in-school learning in the spring.

Revenues saw a slight dip but on the other hand, expenses were also not as high as they had been previously.

“If we look at revenues from 2019-20, they are down a bit. The main one is the funding from the government of Alberta has decreased and that is likely due to the COVID clawbacks throughout the year. Since schools were closed from March until June, there was no activities or fundraising that way, so that is why it’s expected these would decrease,” explained DeKelver, who also highlighted the division’s expenses. “Instruction is down due to not needing subs from March until June as well as the layoffs of the non-certified employees. Operations and maintenance have increased — the two main reasons for that is there was a $362,000 increase in insurance premiums as well as an increase in amortization. Lastly, the transportation, is also down because of COVID. There was no bussing from March until June.” 

Revenues totalled $43,448,735 which was also slightly down from the 2020 budget projections which showed $45,811,663. Expenses also were lower from the 2020 budget which showed $46,236,577 but actually came down at $44,306,171. Overall, the division is still seeing a deficit in 2020. 

While the 2019 restated deficit sat at $116,272, it has grown over the months.

“There was a deficit of ($857,436) this year,” added DeKelver.

“As we look at accumulated surplus from operations compared to expenses, you’ll see a downward trend over the last five years. It has been getting lower and lower but if you compare it to the average of all jurisdictions, Horizon has continually been above the average. It’s good Horizon has those reserves in place,” stated ZoBell. 

A motion to approve the audited financial statement was carried unanimously.

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