Board of education approves audit; lunch program operating in the red

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By Sharon Graves

With two major construction projects nearly complete, Carroll County’s Board of Education learned that it remains on solid financial footing after an audit of its books.

Dennis Raisor of Raisor, Zapp and Woods, Certified Public Accountants of Carrollton, presented the  Board of Education with its annual audit for year ending June 30, 2011.  Raisor gave the board a brief overview of the audit and the five-member board unanimously approved it.

The audit found that Carroll County Schools is in compliance with regulations and sound accounting practices.

The renovations at Cartmell Elementary somewhat skewed the numbers, lowering the year ending cash on hand balance down by $4 million from the previous year. The Cartmell project is just about completed, according to Superintendent Lisa James, at a cost of just more than $10 million. The district is also involved in an early childhood education expansion at Kathryn Winn Primary for a cost of $1.8 million, with $496,000 in funding coming from the Early Head Start grant funds. 

An area of concern to Raisor is the lunchroom program that consistently runs in the red by about $21,000. He asked James and the board if that was the case and they acknowledged that it is.  Actual sales account for only $343,365 of the $1.2 million revenues received. The district receives $899,125 in federal, state, commodities, interest income and state on-behalf payments. 

On the expense side of the ledger, the district spends $1.3 million on the lunchroom operation.  On close examination of the program, the $343,365 the district receives in actual sales does not even pay for salaries and wages of $395,685. Other expenses listed include employee benefits, materials and supplies, depreciation and other operating expenses for an additional $868,593.

The board regularly budgets for the loss in the lunchroom. 

Items of Interest in the Audit

• Net Assets exceeded net liabilities by $21 million. 

• Local taxes contribute 48.2 percent to the overall budget, 37.9 percent comes from state funding and 13.9 percent is from cash on hand. 

• Salaries and benefits accounted for 76 percent of general fund spending, with supplies receiving 9 percent, property 4 percent, professional services 4 percent, other purchased services 3 percent, property services 2 percent and 2 percent designated to other expenses.

• In a pie chart of how the district funds were spent by function, instruction received the lions share by 53 percent. Plant maintenance came in second with 12 percent of the budget, school administration received 8 percent, with instructional staff support and transportation each receiving 7 percent, district administration support and student support each received 4 percent, business support garnered 3 percent, leaving 2 percent in the miscellaneous category of other.

• Interest earned on funds was down $4,962, with the school only earning $5,713 in interest for fiscal year 2011. 

• The district received $3,342,118 in utility tax revenue which was nearly half a million dollars more than last year. 

• The district received $1,474,855 in 10 federal grants. 

The one area Raisor wanted to explain to the board was a line item of $629,264. He explained that this was a paper item only and it is in the audit for grant money that has been spent but not received yet. He said it was a normal way of accounting for this type of entry.

Raisor re-iterated the school district is on solid ground in compliance required when accepting federal grant money and in financial status. Board member, Tom Unker offered the only comment, stating, “sounds like all good news to me.”

Other News

Jeaneen Crutcher, student assistance coordinator was honored with the champion for kids award. 

For the first time in over two years, Larry Corell, the district’s chief operating officer and director of pupil personnel, gave the attendance trophy to a school without an Oak as principal.  Gerda Wise accepted the trophy on behalf of Kathryn Winn Primary, saying it was one of her goals this year to win the trophy.  Doug Oak, principal of Cartmell Elementary won the trophy in October, winning it away from his wife, Dana Oak, principal at the middle school.  The middle school has been the shining star atop the attendance trophy.