The financial condition of the Russell County School System is “good….overall”, however, an auditor hired by the school district has some concerns. Brian Woosley of Stiles, Carter & Associates of Elizabethtown told the Russell County School Board and Superintendent Kenny Pickett Monday night the school district’s finances overall are in pretty good shape but Woosley shared several observations and suggestions with the board based on his company’s audit of the past fiscal year which ended June 30th. The auditor recommended school officials evaluate the school district’s current status and where they want it to go. Woosley pointed out revenue isn’t growing, but expenses have, noting that 80% of all expenses are from payroll and the school system no longer has reserve funds to fall back on as it was accustomed to in past years. Woosley recommended the school district control expenses including halting all non-essential expenditures, even if the items being requested for purchasing have been budgeted.
Concern was also raised by the auditor about the reporting of booster clubs in the school system. The concern is that some booster clubs are not submitting proper reports to principals as required by law. A specific booster club was not named and no further details were given.
During the monthly financial report to the board….two deficits on paper were noted. The “Special Projects Fund” reflects a deficit of just over $552,000. The school system is waiting on federal reimbursements of nearly $400,000 to help bring that account in balance. Also, a deficit of just over $613,000 was noted in the “Debt Service Fund”. Superintendent Kenny Pickett said that amount will be recovered in the coming weeks as property taxes are paid and distributed. It is not uncommon for that account to be in the red prior to receiving the first payments of property taxes.
Otherwise, according to the school district’s Chief Financial Officer, Marla Carnes, the local school system ended the month of October with $598,475.66 “on hand” after paying out just over $1.8 million dollars in total disbursements last month.