NEWBERRY — Newberry County School District passed their financial audit and is declared healthy.
The Newberry County School District has received the highest opinion for their financial audit that ended June 30.
Kevin Madden with Green, Finney and Horton LLP presented highlights and many facts from the recent audit for the most recent fiscal year and said that the school district received an unqualified opinion which is the best and that the district had a “healthy financial condition.”
“Where you are is a good place to be,” said Madden.
Madden also pointed out that the fund balance for the general fund has increased by $870,000 to to $10.8 million and the unassigned fund balance is $10.2 million.
A healthy fund balance helps provide for the necessary cash flow throughout the calendar year until tax revenues are received, he pointed out, decreasing the need for tax anticipation notes.
As Madden pointed out to the school board, “You didn’t need to get a TAN” in reference to the tax anticipation notes.
It also helps the district receive lower interest rates on debt issuance and allows for emergencies. The fund balance is like a savings account.
The responsibility of the auditor is to express an opinion on the financial statements, Madden pointed out and not to look at every single transaction.
Madden said that the general fund revenue is up from the prior year which is mostly due to the state fund increase in the base student cost.
However, despite the rise from the previous year, the district is still behind from the 2009 but the district did make cuts along the way.
Madden said the district is “half a million under the 2012 budget which is a good, conservative budget. You did a good job on a tight ship” in reference to the general fund expenses.
Madden did go over special revenue funds which include Title I, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Education Improvement Act (EIA).
There are about 55 grants with a total of $6.3 million expenses for all the federal and state programs and grants and there is no fund balance for the majority of these funds are unspent funds are carried over to the next year.
Madden did mention that the food service account was higher than necessary and that the state’s guidelines are only 25 percent for fund balance.
As for debt, Madden pointed out that there were two general obligation bonds issued in 2012 - $7.6 million and $1.867 million - for future capital outlay and Newberry Investing in Children’s Education (NICE) payments.
Madden did says that the state’s procurement is required and while the finance and operations departments handles this area, he did recommend the district hiring a procurement person which exposes the district to risk.
The board opted not to hire a procurement director during the last budget workshop and put it on hold.
Madden said that despite the economic conditions, the district is in healthy financial shape with $.64 million in their fund balance to dip into if they needed.
Since the audit was an action item, the board approved this with all members in favor.
In other news, Superintendent Bennie Bennett recommended two names to the NICE committee which only meets about a couple of times a year.
Bennett asked the board to consider Judy Epps and Phil Spotts. Both have worked in education with Epps in the Newberry district and Spotts in Lexington.
All board members approved this action item.
New board member
Jessie Reeder was sworn in Monday night. Reeder is the newest addition to the board and was accompanied by her husband, John Reeder.
Reeder will serve in District 6 and replaced Gregg Taylor.
Newberry High update
The district’s assistant superintendent for operations Jim Suber gave another update on the Newberry High construction.
Suber said that many items are nearing completion or completed including the new brick veneer on the outside front and the storefront glass. The masonry and roofing is complete and sheet rock is ongoing.
In the mini theater, sound panels are completed and lighting is being installed. The seats and carpet will be the last thing to be finished.
In the entrance lobby, the receptionist desk is installed and the ceiling grid is up.
Suber said that the student traffic flow is going well and safety is successful as the proper fencing and restrictions are up.