Muhvich taking reins of school finance

Chris Muhvich

FAIRMONT — Fairmont Area Schools’ new business manager, Chris Muhvich, has been on the job since the beginning of the month.

Following the retirement of long-time business manager Sue Nelson in September, Superintendent Joe Brown said the district received 30 applications, but not one applicant had any public school accounting background.

“School finance in Minnesota is extremely complicated,” Brown said. “There’s so many different things with federal fund comings in and out, and local property taxes and the food service program, and all the money you’re collecting for sports and extracurricular activities.”

On Oct. 1, the school hired Bradley Carlton as a part-time business manager. He was familiar with the district, as he had performed the school’s audit for the past few years. He was contracted through May 1.

Muhvich, meanwhile, started in Fairmont on April 1. He has been working with Carlton to familiarize himself with the district.

Muhvich is originally from Cottage Grove and has a bachelor’s degree in corporate finance with a minor in business administration from Minnesota State-Mankato. Following graduation, Muhvich took a job in the business management office for the Albert Lea school district.

In studying corporate finance, Muhvich said he never thought much about working at a school. Then one day in his college’s accounting club someone mentioned the job in Albert Lea.

Directly before coming to Fairmont, Muhvich worked for two years at the Hiawatha Valley Education District in Winona.

“I was intrigued because he has both public school background and background working with multiple districts special ed programs, because funding for that is more complicated than for K-12 schools,” Brown said of Muhvich’s experience.

Muhvich currently is commuting from Mankato but has purchased a home in Northrop and plans to move soon.

“I’m getting my bearings and figuring out where everything is,” he said.

At work, Muhvich is looking through past budgets to gain an understading of what has happened in the Fairmont district.

“Every school is a little different,” he noted.

The business manager’s job includes budgeting, fiscal compliance for state and federal grants and aids, and audit preparation and coordination, to name some of the most important.

Muhvich works out of the district office at Fairmont Elementary School.

“It’s been nice so far,” he said. “The people here have been really nice.”

“The business manager position is a job that you really need expertise to do correctly,” Brown said. “We were really fortunate to find Chris.”