Minor finding shown in audit

Published 9:16pm Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Dallas County School System produced a “really good audit” for the fiscal year ending Sept. 2013, said state auditor Teresa Dekle. 

Dekle, with the State of Alabama Department of Examiner of Public records, announced Monday that an unmodified opinion was issued for district’s annual audit. Therefore, the board’s financial statements for Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013 are sound and free from material misstatements.

The only finding listed was the Dallas County School Board’s failure to ensure that Salem Elementary School received and deposited money in a correct and timely manner.

“That’s what we expected,” Dallas County Superintendent of Education Don Willingham said. “We kind of knew what would be shown.”

For the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 2013, the total revenue was more than $26 million for the general fund and more than $11 million for the special revenue fund.

For the same fiscal year, the total expenditure was more than $26 million for the general fund and more than $11 million for the special revenue fund.

The general fund is the primary operating fund of the board, while the special revenue fund stems from federal awards.

Teachers used activity sheets instead of giving individual receipts to students for money collected for field trips, fundraisers, school supplies and other activities, according to the corrective action plan Willingham submitted in response to the finding. The report also mentions that the sheets were also not properly filled out each time.

As part of the corrective action plan, local school accounting support clerk Mary Shaw and chief school finance officer Brenda Turner will continue to train bookkeepers, principals and teachers at school staff meetings with additional training with certain personnel held prior 2014-2015 school year.

“Typically, when you have 300 teachers and they are all taking money and depositing, someone is going to mess something up,” Willingham said. “That’s kind of what happened with the finding that they had. It hadn’t even been considered a major finding.”

Willingham said the schools’ normally receives an unqualified report audit.

For the 2010 fiscal year, the state agency found no fault with the system’s overall performance. The findings presented dealt with transactions at several schools involving concessions sold to students during the school day and various extracurricular activities not being recorded separately. Therefore, revenues and expenditures were mixed with other activities.

Just like the previous fiscal year’s audit, few findings were detected.

The district produced a “perfect audit” for the 2009 fiscal year.

He said the schools’ ability to continuously produce clean reports is evidence of the staff’s dedication.

“It means everybody is conscious of being accountable to the public, parents and all the stakeholders,” Willingham said. “They take the job serious. They are hired as teachers, but there is so much more thrown at a teacher, including the fundraising and the bookkeeping chores.”

The report mentions the Dallas County Commission’s half-cent sales tax that originally only benefited the county school system should have included the city school system since.

The issue, which was later corrected, was not listed as a finding on the schools’ audit.

The audit was released on the state agency’s website July 25.




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