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College earns positive audit, foundation reports success

The year-end Feather River College Board of Trustees meeting held Dec. 13 at the Quincy campus featured a full agenda. Three trustees were sworn in, the favorable results of two independent financial audits were discussed, and executives of the FRC Foundation joined the meeting to provide updates and reports on the foundation’s 2018 successes.

As a first order of business, FRC President Dr. Kevin Trutna administered the oath of office to three newly elected members of the college’s governing board.

Sworn in were returning trustees Bill Elliott of Quincy (Area II) and Guy McNett of Indian Valley (Area IV). Dr. Trent Saxton of Portola (Area I) joined the board as a first-time trustee.

Current board members John Sheehan of Quincy (Area III) and Dr. Dana Ware of Chester will continue their service.

The board voted 5-0 to designate Dr. Ware as trustee-president of the FRC board for 2019 and McNett as vice-president.

During the board-reports portion of the meeting, Trustee Saxton told members and administrators that, in preparation for his new role with the FRC board, he had visited Truckee Meadows Community College where he felt “awed by what a community college can do.”

Saxton added, “I want to see us broaden our curriculum in nursing, paramedic (education), forestry and other programs so these kids leave here with (skills for) a job.”

Clear audit findings for college

Joseph Trone, CPA and audit manager with the accounting firm of Crowe Horwath LLP in Sacramento, addressed the board and administrators on the financial condition and operational results of the college district.

He reported that FRC had received three “unmodified” or clear independent audit opinions on its fiscal year 2017-18. The opinions covered FRC’s financial statements, state awards and federal awards.

“Three unmodified opinions is great news,” Trone told the FRC Board of Trustees. “This is the kind of finding you want to see on your audit. It means you can rely on the numbers that management brings to you throughout the year.”

The college was found to be in compliance with all state laws and regulations, and in compliance with requirements for its major federal programs.

Overall revenues were calculated at $29.9 million from tuition, fees, grants, contracts, interest, state apportionment funding, local property taxes and gifts.

Expenses were recorded at just over $24 million, a number nearly $1.8 million less than expenses for the prior year.

The district also paid down long-term lease/debt obligations by close to $119,000.

The auditor complimented the FRC fiscal team for the successful audit process and said the college’s improvements over the year in its purchasing procedures and approval processes was commendable, noting that nothing was identified this year that presented any risk.

The audit stated FRC’s full-time-equivalent student numbers increased from 1,612 in the 2016-17 school year to 1,639 for 2017-18, a level the report described as “fully restored from the decline of prior years.”

The audit also addressed the impact of the improved California economy on FRC’s financial situation.

In addition, the financial review discussed a new statewide, student-centered funding formula soon to be applied to all community colleges that “will highlight the importance of serving all populations of students in the state, which will provide student access, improve student success and focus on low-income and disadvantaged populations. This trend will hopefully give those citizens the opportunity to acquire, improve and expand their education pursuits and contribute to the economic stability of the state.”

FRC Foundation audit results

Prior to the FRC Foundation’s board reports on the nonprofit’s many successes for the year, CPA Trone summarized the 2017-18 independent audit findings for the foundation, too.

It was noted that a separate audit was conducted for the foundation, as it is a distinct nonprofit organization, outside of FRC operations or the Board of Trustees oversight.

  With more than $5.2 million in total assets and just over $1.9 million in total liabilities, he said the foundation also received a favorable “unmodified” opinion on its financials, but the audit spelled out some “enhanced” accounting adjustments that Crowe Horwath LLP recommends for the nonprofit’s financial reporting.

The recommendations are specific to internal processes and reporting controls on transactions and accounting for releases of temporarily restricted net assets. For example, the auditor determined that some foundation transactions were expensed when they should have been capitalized.

John Breaux, owner of the Breaux Group, told the FRC board that he was confident the issues would be resolved this year.

“People make large donations (to the foundation) to purchase assets such as the student housing dorms and they want to see the assets kept up, repairs made,” Breaux explained. “We’ll catch up, we are maintaining the assets. It’s an exciting time.”

Foundation successes keep rising

FRC Foundation President Kris Miravalle reported, “We’ve had a great, even and steady year. We work to bring the college and the community together. I’m really proud of all of our board members; they donate a lot of money and time to the foundation’s programs because they love this college.”

Miravalle specifically cited the success of the Community Host program that placed 38 students with 17 local families last fall for the 2018-19 school year. She said it is very rewarding for the families, “and to see how great these FRC kids are.”

J.P. Harrison told the trustees $16,300 in scholarships were awarded during 2017-18.

Bob Edwards reported FRC’s entire student housing units were full with waiting lists established and the foundation was pleased to approve keeping rental rates the same for 2020.

Karen Pierson and Nancy Gambell said the FRC 50th anniversary celebrations encouraged donors to show their appreciation for the college and make donations. A special gallery show of alumni art may become an annual event.

Beth Reid reported the foundation is signing people up for FRC’s new, free alumni association (watch for their booth at the upcoming Groundhog Day festival Feb. 2 in Quincy) and with over 300 people engaged, there were 109 alumni members enrolled as of mid-December. More social media outreach is planned.

Dr. Lisa Kelly closed out the foundation reports with her update on the wildly popular Quincy Star Follies, coming up March 15-16 and now in its ninth year.

The Follies are locally appreciated each spring as “an unforgettable all-star lip sync variety show featuring a cast of bold and effervescent adults and youth from all over Plumas County,” according to the show’s home page.

The 2019 Follies drawing will feature a top prize of High Sierra Music Festival tickets.

“About 1,000 people attend the Follies,” Kelly said. “Our director comes out free of charge from San Diego to get the show started, then comes back the last week to help us do the show.”

Kelly added that, since 2015, the Follies have funded about $33,000 in community mini-grants (at $1,000 each) from a pool of more than $53,000 in requests.

Foundation President Miravalle said the Follies program incorporates many student performers from throughout the county.

“It’s a great way to showcase these kids,” she added, smiling.

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