Salt Lake School District finished the 1987-88 fiscal year much better off than expected, an independent audit of school finances shows.

The school district ended the last fiscal year with a $3.6 million balance in its general fund, according to a comprehensive financial report by the certified public accounting firm Peat Marwick Main & Co.School district business manager Gary Harmer said the district's budget had planned on a $1.9 million balance, but that was boosted because the district received full payment for the weighted pupil unit (WPU), the amount of state money per child that a school district receives. The WPU is $1,204 per child.

Harmer said for several successive years the state has not paid the full value of the WPU because it didn't have sufficient funds. The payment for the WPU was also expected to be decreased during the last fiscal year, so the district budgeted accordingly, he said.

However, when the state ended up with a surplus instead of a deficit, the school district received the full amount for the WPU, he said.

Although the school district's overall financial health is good, food service reported a $92,123 deficit, which will be covered by borrowing money from the general fund.

Harmer said the school district is studying the food service to see if corrections are necessary.

F. Lynn DeBry of Peat Marwick said the school district has received a certificate of excellence in financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for the 12th consecutive year.