School board gets good audit

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Only minor details pointed out; auditor says it’s not an issue

By Lisa King

After recognizing educators with WOW (What Outstanding Work) Awards, hearing a musical performance by West Middle School students and a lengthy work session on new elementary school construction, the Shelby County School Board finally got down to voting matters. The board approved the construction of a new elementary school, and then received what it considered a satisfactory annual audit from the CPA firm of Mather & Co. Auditor Mike Jones, who presented the findings, told the board the firm found no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in the school system’s bookkeeping, and expressed his appreciation to the system’s employees for making the audit process flow smoothly. “We came out and worked with Greg [Murphy, the district’s director of finance] and the secretaries, and everyone was very cooperative and helpful,” he said. The only problems Jones had with the audit came under the heading of other findings. These included an invoice that couldn’t be located and a few receipts that were either missing or only had one signature. Jones said these were very minor things, since no money was missing. He added that in the 30 years he had been doing audits for school systems, he has never had an audit in which no “other findings” were brought up, but reiterated that he had no problems with the small discrepancies. “We don’t have an issue with it,” he said. But board member Sam Hinkle did. “I don’t care about what all the other schools had in the last 30 years,” he said. “I don’t want us to have any other findings.” Murphy said he understands how Hinkle feels. “I agree with him,” he said. “Everything should be in order. But realistically, these things will crop up occasionally. We just have to address them to keep them from happening in the future.” Murphy said receipts are supposed to have two signatures when money is changing hands. “Both the teacher and the bookkeeper are supposed to sign the receipt when money is turned in,” he said. “But the money was not missing.” Overall, Murphy said he was pleased with the audit. “I thought it was very positive, and I commend our staff,” he said. “It’s good that it’s done each year, because it’s always good to have another set of eyes looking at things, because sometimes people forget to follow procedure, and they point these things out to us.”   At Thursday’s meeting the board also approved: • Hiring J. Quintin Biagi , PSC Architectural Firm for the Shelby County High School Roof Project. • Change orders for Martha Layne Collins High school projects, including athletic fields. • Purchasing five new 72-passanger buses for the 2011-12 school year. • A budget amendment decreasing the contingency budget by  $12,858 after changes in allocation from the second month average daily attendance.