Due to turnover in the role of controller for the district, Minneapolis Public Schools delayed submitting audited financial data to the Minnesota Department of Education. The data was due on Nov. 30, 2023. The district received an extension from the Minnesota Department of Education to file late, according to both the district and the Minnesota Department of Education.

The district expected preliminary audit information to be available the week of Dec. 18, and the completed audit by Dec. 28. Joe Olson served as controller for the district through this summer. His replacement, Erin Gilbert, was hired this fall. The controller oversees accounting processes, including the annual financial audit.

The audited financial statements are one way that the Minnesota Department of Education, as well as the board and public, can monitor the fiscal health of the school district.

Typically, the district shares its audit report with the board’s finance committee at its November meeting. The full board then hears a report from the external auditor at its December regular board meeting, and votes on a resolution to accept the audit report. This year, the district did not share the audit at the November finance committee meeting, nor was an update on the audit timeline shared with the finance committee at that meeting. The board did not hear from the auditor at the December board meeting.

Auditors, hired by the district, are presenting the audit report at tonight’s annual organizational school board meeting. Subject to board approval at that meeting, the audit report will then be sent to the Minnesota Department of Education.

The delayed audit comes at a time when the district faces heightened scrutiny of its finances. At the December 12 board meeting, Thom Roethke, executive director of budget and planning, told the board that without changes, the district is facing a $122 million budget deficit for the 2024-25 school year. A deficit this large would leave the district’s general fund with just $11 million, well below the board’s policy of an 8-13% unassigned general fund balance.