The Stillwater Area School Board plans to make a switch in auditing firms at the end of this fiscal year.

Boardmember Tina Riehle, who serves as the chair of the board’s finance and working group, shared its reasons for moving to a new auditing firm during the March 5 school board meeting.

In October 2019, Stillwater Area Public Schools advertised for written proposals from certified public accounting firms to audit its financial statements for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. Firms would also have the option of auditing its financial statements for each of the four subsequent fiscal years. The district’s finance and operations working group met on February 20 to review four proposals. The committee resulted in the participating school board members recommending Clifton, Larson, Allen (CLA) as the district auditor for fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.

“At the Feb. 20 meeting, we reviewed the four auditor responses,” Riehle said. “After committee discussion, we came to unanimous consensus to change firms and go with Clifton, Larson, Allen.”

This recommendation is a change for the school district, as the firm Mathy, Montague, Karnowski and Radosevich (MMKR) has been serving as the district’s auditing firm for many years.

“While we have been pleased working with MMKR for approximately 20 years, CLA had a great response and we will benefit and appreciative a new perspective,” Riehle said.

MMKR has served as the auditing firm for surrounding school districts, including Forest Lake, South Washington County and White Bear Lake, in the last five years. CLA also has experience working with school districts, having worked with Roseville, Burnsville and Owatonna school districts in the last five years.

Boardmember Mark Burn asked if approving the new contract would require the district to stay with the new auditing firm for future years.

While the board would be approving the use of the CLA for this fiscal year, the proposal included prices for auditing services for the next four years. Director of finance and operations Kristen Hoheisel told the board that approving this year’s agreement did not mean the board would be required to use the service for the next four years.

“Every year it would come before the board to renew the management letter,” Hoheisel said.

The school board will vote on the new auditing firm contract during the March 19 meeting.

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