Charter school receives clean audits


By Randi Pierce

Staff Writer

Pagosa Peak Open School (PPOS) received a clean, unmodified audit for 2020.

The audit, performed by Wall, Smith, Bateman Inc., was presented to the PPOS Board of Directors by the school’s CPA, Uli Keeley, at the board’s meeting on May 10.

In presenting the audit, Keeley explained some of the new things included in the 2020 audit, including the PPOS Building Corporation’s purchase of the building that houses the school.

She also noted PPOS’s cash position is “pretty good.”

The audit report’s schedule of findings also shows that there were no material weaknesses, significant deficiencies or noncompliance identified.

Keeley expounded upon that, stating that PPOS is a new school, but has managed its funds well and there were not many audit adjustments.

Wall, Smith, Bateman also performed a single audit relating to the school’s federal awards, which include a $2.9 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan to purchase the school building and a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant for which the Town of Pagosa Springs acted as a fiscal pass-through.

That audit also came back with an unmodified opinion and no findings.

Board member Mark Weiler suggested the school’s audit outcome was “quite remarkable for a young school,” adding that PPOS had a lot going on in one year, but was ready for the audit.

Financial highlights

Financial highlights presented in the audit document, which are provided by the school’s management, include:

• At the close of PPOS’s third year of operation, “the assets and deferred outflows of the School exceeded its liabilities and deferred inflows by $518,409 (net position) — an increase of $1,506,087.

• “The School’s unrestricted net position shows a deficit of $992,846 and is primarily the result of GASB Statements 68 and 75, which require the School to report its proportionate share of the PERA [Public Employees’ Retirement Association] School Division Statewide Defined Benefit Pension Plan and Post Employment Benefit Plan Other Than Pensions (“OPEB”) net pension liabilities and related deferred inflows and outflows of resources. Over time, PERA is expected to eliminate its unfunded pension obligation through increased contribution rates and additional funding from the State of Colorado.”

• At the close of the fiscal year, PPOS’s “governmental funds reported a combined ending fund balance of $319,885, an increase of $183,004.”

Other business

In other business at the meeting, the board:

• Extended School Director Angela Reali-Crossland’s contract by one year.

Reali-Crossland’s contract now ends in June 2022 and includes compensation of $81,375 with an additional benefits package worth $8,000.

Board president Ursala Hudson also noted Reali-Crossland will receive a $10,000 stipend for her work on programming stemming from the RISE, or Relevant Information to Support Education, grant the school received as part of a charter school collaborative.

• Weiler agreed to extend his time on the board by another three-year term, with that term slated to end in May 2024.

• Heard a report from first-grade advisor Kelle Bruno about her students’ growth on the NWEA test and how she uses test data to adjust what goes on in the classroom to better serve the students.

• Heard a financial report from Business Manager Chenni Hammon in which she explained PPOS is on track to add about $14,000 to the school’s reserve balance.

According to Hammon, The PPOS Board of Directors is anticipated to hear next fiscal year’s projected budget at its June 14 meeting.

• Heard reports from Reali-Crossland and Grant/Communications Manager Alison Beach about the school’s grant and fundraising efforts.

• Gave consensus to Reali-Crossland for the school to discontinue its distance-learning-only option for next school year unless the situation with COVID-19 changes.