, Corbin, KY

November 15, 2013

‘All is good’ with school financial audit

Announcement made during monthly Whitley Board of Education meeting

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

“All is good.”

That’s what Nancy Logan, with Marr, Miller & Myers, PSC in Corbin, told Whitley County Board of Education members during their monthly meeting Thursday.

And what she was referring to was the school system’s annual financial audit — which Logan said came out just fine.

She explained that after careful review of the school system’s finances, the firm can offer an “unmodified opinion” that all financial records are sound.

“The best part of the report was the superintendent’s review (of the financials),” Logan said. “(That was) a very informative section.”

She told board members that total assets for the school system are approximately valued at $55 million.

Of that, the school has approximately $24 million available for them to work with.

She added that revenues were comparable to the 2012 report, but did show those numbers were “a little less.”

She further added that the numbers were in accordance with standard accounting practices.

“The internal control structure is properly operating,” Logan said.

She did inform board members that when the next audit comes around, imminent changes, particularly to the activity fund reviews, will be the biggest challenge to be faced.

Board member Delmar Mahan commented that despite the funding cuts from federal and state coffers, it was good that the school system was “in a sound financial position.”

Board chair Larry Lambdin voted to accept the audit report, with a second from Board member Malorie Cooper. Board members were unanimous with this decision.

In other board business:

— Board members unanimously approved and welcomed back a board attorney.

Board vice-chair J.E. Jones motioned to approve Tim Crawford as the board’s attorney, with a second from Mahan. Once the vote was complete, Crawford took his place at the board of education’s table.

— A discussion concerning the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) survey was kicked off by Superintendent Scott Paul.

Paul told board members that 96 percent of the school system’s teachers participated in the voluntary survey.

According to the Kentucky Department of Education website, TELL Kentucky captures the perceptions of all school-based certified educators about teaching and learning working conditions through an anonymous process.

By documenting and analyzing how educators view critical teaching and learning conditions, this initiative focuses on providing each Kentucky school with its own data that can become a part of the ongoing improvement planning processes in the buildings, in the school districts and at the state level, states the website.

Paul said that the statewide average response was 86 percent.

“We’re rated pretty well,” he said, adding that the board of education’s strong emphasis and focus on technology was helpful.

“Pleasant View (Elementary) was the only place (that did) not score well,” Paul said. “(But we’re) rectifying that with a new facility.”

“There’s only so much you can do with a 1938 model facility,” Lambdin added.

The survey questions eight areas — sufficient access to instructional technology, reliable communication technology, access to office equipment and supplies, access to a broad range of professional support personnel, a clean, well-maintained environment, adequate teaching space, an environment of classrooms which support teaching and learning, and the reliability and speed of the Internet connections of the school.

According to a survey report shared with board members, the school system’s percentages exceeded the state average in every category reviewed.

No board decision was required for this discussion.

— Board members approved participating in an “adequacy study.”

Paul explained that the Council for Better Education (CBE) monitors state funding for adequacy in that funding.

Paul said that 168 school districts belong to the CBE, and that the CBE has asked member school districts for their help.

“(They are) campaigning hard to get more money from the state,” Paul said, adding that in order to more solidify their position on more monies, the CBE needs documentation of need in hand.

The research would cost CBE member districts 25 cents per ADA (Average Daily Attendance) — which Paul said means about $1,000 for Whitley County Schools.

“(This research) carries a lot more weight,” Paul added.

“Everybody knows we need more money,” Lambdin said.

Mahan motioned to approve participating in the research study, with a second from Jones. The board was unanimous in its decision.

— The final full payment to CMTA Energy Solutions was approved by board of education members Thursday.

CMTA Energy Solutions concentrated on a Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract, which basically was completing energy-saving projects throughout the school system.

“Everything is fine — the system is working great,” Paul said.

Cooper motioned to pay CMTA $54,817.10, with a second from Hill. Board members were unanimous with their decision.