Northgate “healthy” auditors say

The Northgate School District's financial picture is pretty good, and fairly comparable to that of other school districts across the state, according to the 2017-18 audit presented to the school board Tuesday night.

The audit covers the period from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

According to Joel Martin of Arbutina and Associates, the borough did record a deficit during that year, for the first time in many years. Expenditures exceeded revenues by about $400,000, a bit higher than the $300,000 anticipated in the district's budget for the same time period.

As of June 30, 2018, however, Northgate held a $10.3 million reserve fund balance, and some $237,000 in the cafeteria fund, which Martin said was an enviable position compared to other districts.

The Northgate School District, financially, is “in a very healthy spot right now,” Martin said.

The district's debt service stood at $2.7 million as of last summer, a level Martin said was very low compared to other districts.

As with other districts across the state, Northgate's primary fiscal hurdle is created by the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System (PSERS), which is currently underfunded by some $49.3 billion statewide. Northgate's share of that immense debt is $35.7 million, Martin said, which represents .0724 percent of the total deficit. Northgate should expect to contribute about $3.7 million per year for the next 20 years, Martin said.

Because of this debt, and without the state making some change in how PSERS can be fully funded, Northgate's debts far outweigh its assets. If the school district ceased to exist, Martin said, and its assets were fully liquidated to pay off the debt, Northgate would be about $18 million in the hole.