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Board works to correct financial report

During Tuesday’s work session, the Selma City School Board discussed measures to produce financial reports correctly and on time.

The system’s financial report was due in Montgomery Tuesday, Nov. 1, however, there were coding errors that needed to be corrected. These errors, board  president Henry Hicks said, will  make the report late once again.

Hicks and other members discussed how to get these reports straightened out in the future. The reports, he said, were also late last year because of similar issues.

Board member Frank Chestnut Jr. said he felt it is important to find out if the employees responsible are being negligent or simply don’t know how to do the job.

“The way I understand it, when a code is done incorrectly, it is going to be the will of the employee to do it correctly, or the ability,” he said. “Or, a lack of either one. The question is, is it a lack of will or ability?”

Correspondence with state offices in Montgomery showed the reports have been a problem since 2007.  Board member Holland Powell said he feels interim superintendent Gerald Shirley should investigate the issue and track these problems to the source.

“I would think that is something we might want to instruct the superintendent to track down and find out what the source of that problem is,” he said. “This is nothing new. We shouldn’t expect the same results from the same people.”

Correspondence from state offices said the late reports will not impact the system as long as the financial report is submitted “within the next week or two.” Lateness will not affect school reimbursement because many other school districts will be late as well. As long as the report is correct, everything will be fine.

Though the late report will not cause problems with reimbursement, Hicks said the problem does need to be corrected.

“In that meeting, Mr. Pouncey came on and said even though this problem has been consistent, it has been coming from the same department areas sending this information in to the CFFO,” he said. “I wanted to make it clear this is not the CFFO. This is coming from other areas to the CFFO. What makes these late, from what I gathered in that meeting, when they get these reports from them, they have to go back and code everything right so they aren’t sending in false information to the state. When they do that, they have to go back.”

If people continue to make the same mistakes, Hicks said, something has to be done.

“It seems like to me if we are going down this road and the state is having to come to us every year and we are doing the same thing over and over with the same identical people … you can draw your own conclusions from that,” he said.

The coding problems become an issue when the reports were submitted electronically.

If the same code is not used from one department to another, the reports will kick back and have to be corrected, which causes the reports to be late.

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