BOE receives clean FY11 audit
By Kathryn Schiliro
The school system has received a clean fiscal year 2011 audit from the state Department of Audits (DOA), Internal Auditor Libby Whitaker told the Board of Education (BOE) last Monday night.
Findings from the DOA–which began with an initial report by Whitaker and system Financial Director Pam McWilliams, then went to the DOA and came back to system administration–demonstrated that there were no questions in regard to the system's operating or Education Local Option Sales Tax (ELOST) funds, nor were there questions or concerns about how federal funding was used. (Each year, the DOA must pull and audit at least half of the federal programs that generate funding for the school system. In the FY11 report, the DOA looked at the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program; Special Education ARRA Grants to States, ARRA Preschool Grants, Grants to States and Preschool Grants; ARRA-Title I Grants and Title I Grants, both passed through from the state DOE; and English Language Acquisition Grants.)
ELOST funds and how they're used are especially scrutinized, Whitaker said.
"The (ELOST) schedule really gets reviewed, really looked over," she said.
There were no questions from FY11 that system administration will need to follow up on for the FY12 report, but the FY11 report did indicated that two questions, one from FY10 and one from FY09, were cleared.
The question from FY10 involved employee compensation: "A comparison of employee compensation to approved salary schedules and contracts revealed an error in the calculation of a salary paid to an individual resulting in a potential overpayment of salary," according to the DOA's FY10 report, found at audits.ga.gov. The matter was apparently resolved by system administration revamping procedures "to ensure that all payroll disbursements are based on approved contract and salary schedules." The DOA also suggested that administration determine whether "recovery of funds is necessary."
The FY09 question involved management of funds–to the tune of more than $153,000–going to the education of children with disabilities and potential noncompliance with Federal guidelines for this funding.
System administration–McWilliams–concurred with this finding, the report states, and implemented procedures to ensure that expenditures paid with local and state funding met "requirements for maintenance of effort regarding the education of children with disabilities." McWilliams also pledged to monitor the total amount of budgeted expenditures "to assure that it is in line with Federal and state guidelines."
Members of the public have called for an independent audit of the school system's finances in the past, to which board member Keith Howard said, "We do have an audit done every year." Moreover, McWilliams has years of experience, he said, and Whitaker herself is a former DOA auditor.
"You won't have a more rigorous audit done that by the Georgia Department of Audits," Whitaker told the board.
The entire process involves three to six auditors from the DOA and takes four to six weeks. The preparation of the report and auditing process altogether takes months.
In other financial news, the school system's operating fund began August with more than $2.6 million and, after more than $1.4 million in receipts and more than $2.7 million in expenditures, ended the month with more than $1.3 million. The school system didn't cash out any CDs last month, but has two–one for $2 million and one for $4 million–both of which mature this month.
With the school year starting, the school nutrition fund is active again. The fund began the month with more than $315,000 and, after $49,000 in receipts and more than $142,000 in expenditures, ended August with almost $222,000.
The ELOST pot started August with more than $3.7 million and, after more than $302,000 in receipts–this is down, as the system averages about $310,000 or $311,000 according to Director of Operations Bob Monk–and more than $318,000 in expenditures, ended the month with almost $3.7 million.
The majority of ELOST funds were spent on Kevin Price Contractors–almost $211,000–the firm responsible for the construction of the new classroom building at the high school. Construction on this structure remains ahead of schedule, Monk told the board.
Printed in the September 20, 2012 edition