BOE audit report reveals deficiencies

Published 4:05 pm Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A representative from the Alabama Department of Public Examiners presented an annual audit report at the Chilton County Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

Amanda Hensley read portions of the audit during the visitor section of the meeting. Hensley read board members several of the findings in the audit that were noted as “significant deficiencies.”

On Wednesday, Chilton County Superintendent Dave Hayden said many of the items listed as deficiencies in the audit were referring to a situation, which occurred at the LeCroy Career Technical Center in 2013 with a former bookkeeper who stole money from the school.

Temika Varner Winters, 38, of Clanton, pleaded guilty in July 2014 to two charges involving theft of property first degree and one count of ethics violations.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss 16 counts of possession of a forged instrument second degree.

One of the items found during the audit stated that amounts deposited in the LeCroy Career Technical Center bank account did not reconcile to amounts reflected on the master receipt book. The audit states that “the board’s Local School Accounting and Reporting Policy requires a complete record of all receipts to be kept in record books.”

The recommendation listed in the audit said board members should “ensure that procedures related to local school receipting are followed.”

The audit also stated the LeCroy Career Technical Center had disbursements lacking supporting documentation, disbursements were sometimes made from statements rather than invoices, invoices were paid more than once, late fees were paid, checks were not always signed by the principal, checks were signed in advance, checks were made payable to cash, and purchase orders were not always prepared.

The recommendation listed in the audit suggested the board “ensure that procedures related to local school expenditures are followed.”

The board’s policy states that “a complete record of all expenditures shall be kept in record books, all checks issued by the local schools shall be signed by the local principal, all purchases shall be made through purchase orders, and local schools shall maintain all proper expenditure documentation and backups when paying bills.”

Hensley also read that several organizations operated outside the control of the Board and were using either the board’s or local school’s tax identification number.

“In some instances, the accounting records for these organizations were maintained by school employees,” the audit states.

It was recommended to the board that they ensure that external organizations comply with the guidelines established by the State Department of Education regarding school-related organizations.

The state’s guidelines for local schools provides that external organizations operating outside the control of the school should have a separate employer identification number (EIN) and separate mailing address.

Organizations will become school activities if both parties mutually assent to the fiduciary control of the principal, a school employee, who is associated with the activity is supported by the booster organization serves/holds a leadership position in the organization or a school employee leads fundraising or maintains the accounting records of the organization, according to page 51 of the audit.

The audit also found that the bank account at LeCroy Career Technical Center was not maintained on the board’s financial records or reconciled monthly.

The recommendation was the board “should ensure that all local school bank accounts are maintained in accordance with the Local School Monthly Financial Record Reconciliation policy.”

Winters was arrested Nov. 26, 2013, after the 19th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office conducted an investigation of suspected theft at the request of the Clanton Police Department due to a conflict of interest.

The investigation started after an employee at LeCroy noticed some unusual accounting practices.

Winters stole nearly $50,000 from the school over an 18-month period.

Winters worked for the Chilton County Board of Education for 15 years.

At the time of her arrest, prosecutors said in this particular case, forged instruments referred to checks.

Winters’ sentencing date will be Nov. 12 at 9 a.m. at the Chilton County Courthouse.

Hayden said the suggestions given in the audit will help the board know how to do things different in the future.

For more from Tuesday’s meeting, check a future edition of The Clanton Advertiser or