School District Financial Risk Analysis

District results

Cedar Unified School District—Among the highest-risk districts

General information
County Navajo County
Operational peer group (FY 2021) 12
Legislative district(s) 6
School information FY 2021 FY 2022
Students attending 100 116
Number of schools 1 1

Summary of risks identified

Cedar Unified School District is among the highest-risk districts due to its receivership status, change in weighted student count, and operating budget limit reserve as shown on the measure cards below.

The District was among the highest-risk districts in our December 2020 report and moved out of that group in our December 2021 report based on its improved measure results. However, that report also indicated that the District could move back into the highest-risk group in the future if it did not continue to make progress toward eliminating its New School Facilities Fund deficit or if it experiences substantial decreases in weighted student counts (WSC). While the District recently eliminated its New School Facilities Fund deficit, it is still operating under a State-appointed receiver the State Board of Education put in place in FY 2011. Also, the District’s WSC has decreased 18.7 percent since fiscal year (FY) 2019 with an 8.7 percent decrease in FY 2023, to date, impacting its student-count generated revenues and budget limits. The District has spent over 70 percent of its operating budget limit reserves since FY 2018 reducing its ability to react to mid-year revenue decreases from WSC decreases. Additionally, the District reported using over $1.3 million from COVID-19 federal relief monies to maintain its operations in FYs 2020, 2021, and 2022. The District further reported it plans to spend 58 percent, or almost $4.3 million, of its remaining relief monies to maintain operations. As these are one-time monies, to avoid future financial risk and to ensure it will be able to spend within its available cash resources and budget capacity when these relief monies are no longer available to spend after September 30, 2024, the District should plan how it will adjust its spending in areas where its remaining monies are used.

District response

First, a positive response on the Receivership status: Cedar School District has zeroed out the FY 2020 New School Facilities Fund deficit balance of $336,253.00. The District transferred $150,000.00 in FY21 and $186,253.00 in FY 2022 from the Impact Aid Revenue Fund to zero out the deficit. This will allow the school district to continue working on the last area of its Receivership Exit Plan by addressing audit findings and corrective action plans to get out of noncompliance with the USFR.

Secondly, the District has addressed concerns with enrollment decline during the COVID-19 pandemic by purchasing and installing more advanced technology in the classrooms and after school tutoring, and is working with the community to portray a positive image by being more engaged with parents, as well as returning to almost normal activities, i.e. after-school tutoring, parent-teacher conferences, sports activities, etc. Another positive for the district is addressing staff morale and working with grants to acquire new buses and white fleet, all of which are utilized to transport students daily to and from school. Our COVID funding (ESSER Grants) was also used to pay salaries and benefits to address learning loss and provide technical support for our instructional staff and students, as allowed by the grant(s). Using these funds created savings in the Maintenance and Operation, Unrestricted Capital Outlay, and Impact Aid Funds and assisted the District in eliminating its New School Facilities Fund deficit. As long as ESSER funding is available it will be used, where allowable, to build up reserves in the other funds to be used for operations in future years.

Analysis and data

Additional information about each measure, including how each measure was calculated and how districts were identified as High Risk for each measure, is available on the Measures page.

Change in weighted student count

High risk
-8.6% -18.7%
(1-year change) (4-year change)
Fiscal year Group A WSC
2023 148
2022 162
2021 140
2020 169
2019 182

Operating budget limit reserve

High risk
-23.5% -73.3%
(1-year change) (4-year change)
Fiscal year Balance
2022 $659,775
2021 $862,068
2020 $2,313,030
2019 $1,027,302
2018 $2,468,604

Capital budget limit reserve

100.0% -39.1%
(1-year change) (4-year change)
Fiscal year Balance
2022 $1,171,342
2021 $114,976
2020 $74,656
2019 ($1)
2018 $1,924,904

General fund operating reserve ratio

44.1% 44.7%
FY 2022 unaudited FY 2021 audited
Fiscal year Balance Expenditures
FY 2022 unaudited $685,193 $1,552,057
FY 2021 audited $813,097 $1,816,999

General fund operating margin ratio

10.6% 6.9%
FY 2022 unaudited FY 2021 audited
Fiscal year Revenue Expenditures
FY 2022 unaudited $1,735,133 $1,552,057
FY 2021 audited $1,951,900 $1,816,999

General fund change in fund balance

15.4% 12.5%
FY 2021 to 2022 unaudited FY 2020 to 2021 audited
Fiscal year Change amount
FY 2021 to 2022 unaudited $91,227
FY 2020 to 2021 audited $90,067

Capital monies redirected to operations

0.0% 20.0%
(FY 2023) (5-year average)
Fiscal Year Capital monies Amount redirected
2023 $75,953 $0
2022 $54,361 $0
2021 $0 $0
2020 $74,657 $0
2019 $63,542 $63,542

Small school budget limit adjustment

District is eligible for adjustment but did not increase its budget limit in FY 2023.

Fiscal year Adjustment
2023 $0
2022 $0
2021 $0
2020 $0
2019 $0

Frozen tax rate

District's primary property tax rate is not frozen.

Receivership

High risk

District was placed in receivership in April 2011.