December 25, 2003

Audit Reveals SCR-I In Strong Financial Shape

Everyone has heard about saving for a rainy day. The Scotland County R-I School Board is witnessing the benefits of such astute financial planning. The board of education met December 16 and the first point of business was the review and approval of the district’s annual financial audit.

The good news was the audit concluded the district funds balances as of June 20, 2003, the close of the 2002-03 fiscal year, were $1,550,912.

The auditing firm of Larson, Allen, Weishair & Co, L.L.P. also gave the school high marks in respect to financial recording keeping and policies.

Auditor Amanda Tinney stated “ We received complete cooperation from all the staff during the 2003 audit. It appears that the overall accounting procedures laid down by the district are being adhered to by the personnel with the business office.”

The bad news was, that while the district did meet its goal of maintaining ending fund balances in excess of $1 million in reserve for emergencies, the district is now entering just such a fiscal emergency.

“Finances are the tightest I have seen in the past 40 years and we must manage carefully our resources or we will find ourselves deficit spending this year more than projected,” Superintendent LeRoy Huff said. “This district will be very fortunate if we can even come close to balancing the budget for the sixth consecutive year.”

The superintendent noted, that while state forecasts for revenues are above the anticipated level, there is still a wide gap in the level of money come into the Missouri government and the amount of tax revenue required to cover current government spending, including fully funding the education formula.

Board members voted 7-0 to hold a winter workshop in January to allow members to prioritize budget restraints that the district will need to institute for the next fiscal year in order to allow the school’s administration the opportunity to construct these restraints in budget for next school year.

The winter workshop will be held January 31 beginning at 9:00 a.m. with members focusing on budget issues for the 2004-05 and 2005-06 fiscal years.

Summer School

In other business, the board authorized Superintendent Huff to enter negotiations to allow the district to continue its association with Newton Learning for the district’s summer school programs.

Newton Learning provided instructional materials and a structured program for the 2003 summer school program.

The board offered suggested contract language for Huff to pursue in seeking an agreement for the 2004 summer school package.

Executive Session

The board offered the annual evaluation of the superintendent during executive session. By a unanimous vote, members expressed their support of Huff and his continued leadership of the district.

“I expressed my sincere appreciation to the board of education for the opportunities that they have provided me to work for the past 40 years in what I believe to be the most progressive, forward looking school district in north Missouri,” Huff said.

Special Education

As part of the district’s five-year MSIP review held recently, the district was also subject to a review of the special education program.

District director Rhonda McBee advised the school board that the review was very positive with only a few minor corrective actions that needed the district’s attention.

Substitutes List

The board reviewed an updated list of substitutes for certified and non-certified positions. Board policy requires substitutes be approved prior to employment by the district. The board voted 7-0 to approve the new list and make all the members eligible for employment when required, do to absence of regular employees.

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