“Significant Improvement” in school audit report

Bison Blinds

There’s the regular annual school audit, and the investigative audit that Luther citizens asked for two years ago. The Luther School Board approved the latest regular audit at Monday night’s meeting with notes of marked improvement.

School Treasurer Gary Roy said more ad valorem revenue should come to the district in December and January.

As for the investigative audit that cost the district up to $45,000, we are still waiting for that report. Rumors from those who were interviewed or have seen preliminary reports indicate there won’t be any “smoking guns” from the probe that was called for by citizens in late 2015. Interestingly, it was at the December School Board Meeting one year ago that a payment of $27,000 for the audit was discussed. At that time, we were anticipating the release of the audit performed by the State Auditor and Inspector’s office in January of 2017. There’s no official word on when the audit will be released.

Back to the audit reviewed Monday night over the 2016-2017 school year: Amy Hale, CPA, who represents Ralph Osborn’s firm that was hired to do the audit told the board that the district had “significant improvement,” did not go over its appropriation and also had carryover funding for the current year. She said there were only two findings and no “material weaknesses.”

Finding one described some missing paperwork on the sale of a heifer for the Activity Fund. Finding two dealt with a lack of a schedule of hours for employee contracts that was out of compliance with federal minimum wage rates.

In the previous year’s audit, there were nine findings which included the lack of segregation of duties (not enough accountability on collecting, counting and depositing money), purchase orders that were written after things were bought, and money spent inappropriately from bond funds.

Earlier in the meeting, School Treasurer Gary Roy reported the district has spent only 27% of its budget a third of the way into the year. Most of the money is spent on instruction at $767,289 as of November 30, 2017. The entire school budget is $5.7 million.Superintendent Barry Gunn noted that number is $1 million less than it was two years ago when severe cuts were made to personnel and programs.

In other board action:

  • Play Ball: the board approved a lease agreement with the Town of Luther to pay $500 for use of the baseball field at Wildhorse Park year-round; and $130 for the softball field from July – September. Previously, the district paid $1 for the use. The school will continue to maintain the fields. It was noted that the Town leases the Community Center for meetings.
  • Surplus desks: the district declared some student desks and chairs as surplus to sell. The desks have been stored at the “Wood Tech Building,” but there’s an effort to transform that space into an indoor training facility for baseball and softball. It was noted the equipment for the Design & Fabrication class that met in that building will NOT be sold. That program was eliminated in the budget cuts.
  • Cookies: Elementary School faculty and staff presented plates of cookies to school board members and principals.
  • Sign is up: The sign for the LaVern Veasy Performing Arts Center is fixed and in place outside of the auditorium to honor the beloved music teacher who retired last year.
  • Anti-Bully meeting: Mr. Gunn said the first meeting to address anti-bullying had an overall theme of making the effort student-centered. An online anonymous reporting form is available and there will be more effort to communicate to parents about prevention tools. Another meeting of the group of parents, teachers, counselors and administrators is scheduled in January.
  • No election: CJ Cavin was congratulated for not drawing an opponent for the school board. Mr. Gunn attributed that to the community’s confidence in Cavin’s ability as a board member. Gunn also noted the district saves about $4,500 in election costs.
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