Financial decisions highlight school board action

Kevin Boozer Staff Writer

November 26, 2013

WINNSBORO — Financial issues were the main items discussed at the November meeting of the Fairfield School District Board of Trustees with the board voting unanimously to table a motion for the district to procurement cards issued to each school.

The procurement card (p-card) program with Bank of America would, according to Superintendent J.R. Green, help the district have more flexibility to use local vendors. Though the procurement cards would be subject to purchase order requirements, after discussion the board decided to delay a vote so more information could be obtained.

Green recommended establishing a combined school pupil activity bank account at First Citizens Bank that would streamline some overhead for the district because the district could close the seven current school bank accounts at First Citizens Bank and one school bank account at Wells Fargo Bank.

Under the system, funds still would be distinguished among schools. The change would make it easier to transfer money into district operating accounts and provide greater control and security, according to Green.

The motion passed with Henry Miller, Bobby Cunningham, William Frick, Beth Reid and Andrea Harrison voting in favor. Paula Hartman and Annie McDaniel abstained. The change comes a year after the district centralized its computing accounting activity.

The district’s audit firm of McAbee, Schwartz, Halliday & Company presented an overview of the district’s audit and financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. The auditors reported no transfers without authoritative guidelines, no new accounting practices adopted by the district and said the most significant areas were with depreciation and in the area of taxes receivable.

The auditors saw an issue with internal controls where there were several instances of a purchase order not being obtained before a purchase was made.

The audit also noted that in some cases the food service application was incomplete and they said the district needs to make sure the applications are filled out correctly. The incomplete applications did not affect free or reduced lunch funding, however.

The firm reported the fund balance increased $1.4 million to $6.2 million/year, 18.4 percent of budgeted expenditures. The district met its policy of having a 12.5 percent minimum fund balance. Keeping that amount helps with interest rates on bonds, helps with cash flow and reduces dependence on tax anticipatory notes.

The audit reported district total assets at$32 million including $800,000 in unearned revenue principal EIA funds. The audit showed $4 million in general obligation bonds the district holds is due March 2014. In sum, the firm had no questions about the costs of findings this year.

In other business, the board:

• Unanimously approved Green’s recommendations for certified resignations for school year 2013-2014.

• Decided to discuss at a work session in January a question by Miller about a policy to charge custodial expenses for using district facilities.

• Approved the Facility Usage Request and waiver of fees from Fairfield Behavioral Health to use the District’s Board Auditorium on Nov. 23.

• Re-elected Beth Reid as board chair. Harrison and McDaniel abstained from voting. The other members voted in favor. Harrison was elected board vice chair by a unanimous vote. Frick was nominated as board secretary.

• Agreed to give flowers to the family of Rickey Johnson and read a proclamation in his honor thanking the recently deceased Johnson for his four years service to the school board.

• Unanimously approved a fundraiser for the Diabetes Association.

• Passed a recommendation 6-1 that the board approve the Facility Usage Request and waiver of fees from Fairfield Community Health Partners to use Fairfield Central’s Media Center on Dec. 3. Harrison opposed.

• Heard congratulations from Green on FMSMS for an outstanding year, including being a Palmetto’s Finest semifinalist.

• Held an executive session for a student hearing request that the board elected not to hear after reviewing the case.

• Held a second executive session for legal and personnel matters. The legal matters were a briefing in the ongoing litigation with Chester County School District over who pays to educate students in the Mitford area.