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CCS addresses findings in 2018 fiscal year audit

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Chilton County Schools has received its audit from the state Department of Examiner of Public Accounts Office for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, 2017 and ended on Sept. 30, 2018.

The current superintendent and child nutrition director came into these positions halfway through this fiscal year. The Chief School Financial Officer and several board members came into their positions after this fiscal year.

The Examiners issued an unmodified opinion, however, material weaknesses and deficiencies were identified.

“The Chilton County Board of Education (the ‘Board’) failed to accurately record transactions during the fiscal year involving $179,446.10, in which cash was transferred from the General Fund to the Debt Service Fund in order to make debt principal and interest payments. The Board did not have internal controls in place to ensure that all financial transactions were accurately recorded in the accounting records. As a result, cash and operating transfers in were understated by $179,446.10 in the Debt Service Fund and cash was overstated and operating transfers out were understated by $179,446.10 in the General Fund. The management of the Board was notified of these errors and made adjustments to the financial statements to correct the misstatements,” according to the findings section of the audit.

In a letter to chief examiner Rachel Riddle, Chilton County Schools CSFO Melynda Buck outlined responses to each of the findings and corrective actions.

“Action has already been taken by the CSFO in adhering to the generally accepted accounting principles where adequate internal controls to ensure cash and operating transfers are properly recorded in the financial statements,” Buck wrote.

Some of the findings outlined issues at specific schools.

“Local school expenditure testing at Jemison Elementary School and Chilton County High School (the ‘Schools’) revealed numerous errors in the Schools’ purchasing practices. The Schools failed to ensure all purchase orders were approved by the appropriate individuals and were supported by adequate documentation prior to payment of the invoices. Controls were not in place at the local schools to ensure compliance with applicable policy and procedures established to approve and document purchases from local school funds. As a result, numerous expenditures (were) not properly approved and documented in accordance with the Board’s Financial Operations Manual,” the audit findings stated.

Other issues found included Form 1099-MISC documents not being issued to employees who made more than $600 and fundraiser request forms not being filled out according to board policy at JES.

Buck stated that she and the assistant CSFO “will continue working with local school bookkeepers and principals” to make sure purchase orders are being handled according to Board policy and procedures. Vendors are now being handled through the central office to ensure the 1099-MISC forms are being given to everyone who fits the requirements.

Additional training on the fundraiser approval form has been planned to address this audit finding.

Under the federal programs findings, it was found that the Code of Alabama 1975, Section 16-13B-1 requiring certain goods and services of $15,000 or more to be bid and not been properly followed in the purchase of a CNP vehicle.

“During the audit period, the Board purchased a vehicle from a vendor who was awarded a contract through a competitively bid State contract in the amount of$23,574.00. The Board paid the vendor the base bid price, plus $32,328.00 for upgrades, for a total purchase price of $55,902.00. The Board did not provide documentation to show that the upgrades were included in the bid contract awarded by the State of Alabama.”

Current Child Nutrition Director Hayes said she became the CNP director after the purchase was made.

In response to the finding, Buck wrote “The CSFO is actively working with the Department supervisors to ensure compliance with the Board’s policies and procedures to ensure all procurement transactions are in compliance with the Uniform Guidance.”

The full audit can be viewed here.