© 2019 by The Anton Group

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The Anton Group, LLC

1335 Pierce Butler Route

St. Paul, MN 55104

info@theag.org | 651.294.3508

Minnesota Born and Raised

May 27, 2019

Looks like the usual 2% increase to the general education formula for FY20 & FY21 for MN schools.  The 2% increase is consistent with the past eight years of funding increases.  A few more details can be found on the link below.  

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/05/22/education-budget-decisions-near-end-after-leaders-agree-on-increase-for-schools

April 24, 2019

The Anton Group is excited to attend World Savvy’s upcoming event World of Good on May 8th at 6pm.  The event will be hosted at the Minneapolis Events Center on 2nd Street in Minneapolis. 

World Savvy is a national non-profit working with educators schools and districts to integrate global competence into K-12 classrooms. More details on the event can be found here: https://www.worldsavvy.org/worldofgood

Hope to see you there!

July 22, 2018

Sophisticated student data services to steer a school's academic success is finally here. 

It's time for school leadership and governance to grasp a broader and more in-depth understanding of how individual students, cohorts, students with IEPs, students in an ELL program, and endless other focuses progress through a school's effort.  Additionally, school leadership can gain insight into cultural aspects of the school - i.e. discipline tracking, neighborhood enrollment concentration, new student progress, etc.

TAG has partnered with EdOps, a DC based school service firm, to provide comprehensive student data services to schools who identify the importance of high quality student data.  The benefits of improved visibility of student data analytic reporting are:

  • Improve data driven decision making

  • Increase data quality

  • Ensure data reporting compliance

  • Build capacity of school leadership and data teams

Our sense is that Minnesota schools could benefit from this type of h...

May 14, 2018

Noble Academy flexes it academic and financial muscles as they open their second site in Brooklyn Center.  The school crossed the finish line on complex financing on April 16th to secure the site with several Minnesota based lenders.  Heading into SY2019-2020 Noble Academy will be serving 1,200+ students ranging from PreK through the 8th grade. Their future is bright.  Their past reflects strong management discipline and commitment to providing students with a high-quality academic opportunity.  So, how did they get to this point?  Let me tell you more...

Noble is one of the most financially stable school's in Minnesota.  They've been in this position for the past 5+ years.  The school's fund balance once surpassed more than 100% of the annual expenses.  Said differently, the school could have operated a full year without any income.  No other school has displayed this kind of financial power.  Below is a historical fund balance review to support the prior comments....

April 16, 2018

So, you're a traditional school, huh?  We have the right staff to help you out if you're in need for short-term support, long-term support, or multiyear projects.  

Since Brady Hoffman, CPA has joined TAG we have opened several new relationships with traditional school districts.  Currently, we're supporting metro and greater Minnesota districts with varying levels of support.

As staffing turnover happens, leaves are taken, or additional support is needed on a short-term project we have the depth, ability, and desire to help out.  If your district is looking for a long-term solution for district finance leadership we have the staff and expertise to make sure your finances remain stable and moving in the right direction.  Our team of experienced school district accountants and support staff are prepared to support your district.

In the near future, many school districts will be looking to transition to a different or upgraded finance software platform.  TAG is at the forefront of...

April 9, 2018

We're firm believers in what goes around comes around.  I've seen karma playing itself out in positive ways in our firm's history.  We're very aware of the impact that our social stewardess can have with our partner clients and students.  So, we have an opportunity to participate in any event sponsored by one of our schools we don't hesitate to be involved.

A perfect example of TAG's commitment to this company value is the Great River School Soiree.  Great River School is a K-12 Montessori program located in the midway of St. Paul.  With a student waitlist of 1,000+ kids it's a clear leader in school choice.  Plus, they have goats as part of their curriculum...that's pretty cool.

Anyway, On March 14th, TAG had the honor of being a Soiree Sponsor for the event.  The event was held at Can Can Wonderland.  Can Can Wonderland is the first arts-based public benefit corporation in Minnesota.  The event included rounds of minigolf, silent auction, eats, and a whole bunch of fun.  The event proc...

March 5, 2018

TAG is excited to announce that the Minnesota Department of Education received a $45.8 million 2017 Charter School Program grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant will support subgrants for the planning and implementation of new charter schools as well as the expansion or replication of high-quality charter schools. It also provides support for technical assistance to charter schools and authorizers, including authorizer evaluation.

MDE’s objectives are to increase the number of high-quality charter schools that serve disadvantaged students and the overall number of students served by charter schools in Minnesota; support all charter schools in achieving the goals of the World’s Best Workforce; increase quality of Minnesota charter schools through authorizer training and evaluation; and increase the sustainability of charter schools.

The Anton Group is fortunate to work in an industry that employs hard working people dedicated to a mission of providing students with an edu...

February 25, 2018

Grit is who we are.  Sometimes it's used as a buzz word that can be found in various marketing materials to paint a certain perception of a company.  At TAG it goes far beyond that context.  Grit is a part of who we are.  It's a part of how we approach our daily work and our long-term firm management.  We view our approach to serving our clients and firm management as a marathon.  Long sustained perseverance accurately defines our understanding of grit.  This is who we are and what we do.

On a personal level, girt has different meanings for different folks.  My appreciation for grit is directly tied to my grandparents and father.  My grandfather, Anton Pocrnich, immigrated from Croatia in the 1930's.  My grandmother, Mandy Pocrnich, immigrated from Croatia also in the 1930's.  They married and started farming in Orr, MN.  Neither of them spoke any English.  They came to this country with nothing and made a life for themselves and their family.  As time pass...

February 15, 2018

TAG is excited to welcome a new team member to the firm.  Brady Hoffman, CPA will be joining The Anton Group in March 2018.  He will bring significant expertise and added depth to TAG as we engineer our next phase of growth. 

Now, an introduction to Brady.

Brady has spent his entire career working with school districts and charter schools in varying capacities. Most recently, Brady served as Executive Director of Business Services for a large and growing metro school district. Brady’s career began in public accounting he was a manager at a large national CPA firm in their state and local government group.

After his tenure at the CPA firm, Brady gained valuable experience working at various school districts as a Director of Accounting, Director of Business Services, and Executive Director of Business Services. Brady brings a wealth of experience in business leadership, board governance, strategic planning, and school district operations. Brady has also successfully lead multiple...

February 12, 2018

We all know the story of story of The Little Engine That Could.  Few of us know the story of the Little School That Could.  Lincoln International High School in South Minneapolis is that School.  Located in South Minneapolis, Lincoln International High School primarily serves African immigrants.  The school has consistently served 150 students for the school year.  At its core, the school plays a significant role in ensuring students new to the States have a caring and stable learning environment.

TAG started working with Lincoln back in the 2012-2013 school year.  When we started working with the school it was in significant financial distress.  Their fund balance had declined by over 90% between fiscal 2010 - 2012.  In dollar terms, the fund balance decreased from $556,832 to $53,107 over the course of only two fiscal years.  When we started working with the school closure was a serious concern.  The dramatic change in the fund balance is exemplified by the graph b...

February 5, 2018

We enjoy being onsite at our partner clients.  It gives us a chance to build deeper relationships not only with the school leadership, but with the office staff and faculty as well.  It keeps us connected with our mission of providing the highest quality business advisory services to our charter schools when we see the students in the classrooms, walking the halls, or eating lunch.  Seeing the students who attend a stable and strong school puts a smile on our faces.

For each and every service scope TAG develops with a partner client we're always considerate of the short-term and long-term needs of the school.  Most of our schools fall into different cycles of need over the course of a given year or term of service.  Yet, some identify the benefit of consistent onsite service from the onset.  By having the detailed discussions on what the current vs. long-term needs are of the school prior to finalizing the service scope allows TAG to plan and prepare to deliver our standard high-quality...

January 28, 2018

Board training can be boring.  Really, really boring. Being past board members, we know first hand how bland the current board trainings can be when wadding through governance, HR, and finance trainings.  TAG has developed directly relevant content to provide our board members with the best available trainings.

Recently, TAG team members had the joy of working with three schools to provide our experienced based training sessions.  Twin Cities International Elementary School, Minnesota International Middle School, and Ubah Medical Academy came together on a Saturday to learn and share content rich information to the respective board members and school leaders.

Along with the school's attending the four-hour training, TAG and our partners delivered our highest quality training to date.  By avoiding the basic, run of the mill, platform we held the attention of all attendees for the duration of the session.  Mixed with video and school-specific information we worked through overviews of...

January 21, 2018

Audits are not a commodity.  There is significant value in partnering with the right audit firm.  The quality of the audit firm's work can change over time.  What once was one the premiere audit firm can become the worst to work with over the course of a few years.  After over a decade managing charter school finances - including managing multiple audits each year, no one values a solid relationship with an audit firm more than TAG.  So, what makes one audit firm better than another?  What happens to a top performing firm when the services start to decline?  When it is time to change audit firms?

First, bigger isn't better when it comes to audit firms.  Especially, when you consider the market size of charter school audits vs. the market size of other audit markets - i.e. traditional school districts, manufacturing, construction, etc.  The fact is that charter school audits garner lower fees than larger clients.  This can greatly impact the quality of the a...

January 15, 2018

Let it be known: Noble Academy is an astounding charter school. 

Located in Brooklyn Park, MN, Noble Academy will be celebrating their 10th year of operations this year.  Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year they will be opening their second site as the demand for their educational experience continues to grow.  I have worked with the school since the planning stages where a temporary office was the nucleus of an incredible future charter school.  Little did I know what Noble Academy would become over the course of the next decade.

As of June 30, 2017, Noble's fund balance settled at 89% of the respective year's expenditures.  The financial health of Noble Academy is further exemplified by having 272 days cash on hand and a debt service coverage ratio of 2.0+.  Said differently, Noble Academy is the strongest financially structured charter school in Minnesota today.  But the good news goes far beyond the financials.

Academics always have been the top priority of Nob...

January 6, 2018

Transparency isn't something we take lightly at TAG.  It's at the core of how we build trust among our partner clients. 

Consider hiring any personal financial consultant - i.e. a tax accountant, financial planner, or banker.  What qualities do you look for when considering making the final decision?  What gives you the creeps?  What will keep you up at night?  How are they getting paid from the services they're providing you?  Transparency is always at the center of all concerns when you're placing trust and faith in a financial consultant.

Transparency is intertwined in all the financial services we provide to our charter schools.  There are standard definitions of the term.  Yet, TAG has continually defined the essence of transparency by the way we deliver the services we provide to our clients.  Let me tell you more.

TAG's definition of transparency starts with honesty.  Everyone likes to hear good news...and we love giving good news.  But, deliveri...

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