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School activity audit presented

School activity audit presented

Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 10:17 pm

By CHRIS MENEES Messenger Staff Reporter Obion County Director of Schools David Huss says a meeting will be held with all school principals and bookkeepers in the wake of several audit findings in the Obion County School System’s individual school activity fund. The individual school activity fund audit was presented by accountant/auditor David Hart of Alexander, Thompson, Arnold during the Obion County School Board’s monthly session Monday night at South Fulton Elementary School. The audit findings included some purchase order deficiencies, the lack of the required dual signatures on some checks, the timeliness of some deposits, a deficit balance in a restricted account, the pre-authorization and copying of some blank fundraiser approval forms, some incomplete and inaccurate ticket reconciliations, one instance where a transfer form had no authorized signature and one instance of timely issuance and posting of receipts at one school. It was noted, though, that the findings are listed as the less serious compliance issues rather than the more serious material weaknesses. Hart emphasized that there are no missing funds and no major shortages and said the audit findings primarily concern the way in which books are being kept at the school system’s individual schools. He said he has volunteered to do a training session for the school bookkeepers, which is usually helpful, and he noted that there had also been a lot of turnover in positions, which typically increases the number of findings. Huss told the board that he stated in a letter of response to Hart that although he is “extremely disappointed” that there were so many audit findings, it is his understanding that all of the audit findings were explained to school personnel and the school system concurs with the findings. “During the current school year, a meeting will be held with all school principals and bookkeepers to (ensure) all school personnel involved in the accountability of public funds understand the accounting policies and procedures as defined by the Tennessee Internal School Uniform Accounting Policy Manual,” Huss said in the letter of response. “If the number and severity of findings continue during the current and subsequent fiscal years, more drastic measures may need to be taken.” Hart also presented to the board the individual school cafeteria agreed-upon procedures report, which had no findings. In other action during Monday night’s meeting, which was opened with prayer led by school board member and chair pro tem Brian Rainey, the school board: • Recognized and commended the 2008 South Fulton Middle School football team with a resolution, which was read by school board member David Lamb, who represents South Fulton on the board. The resolution recognized that the team “captured the coveted Rebel Bowl as the crowning achievement during its spectacular 2008 season,” which it finished undefeated with a 9-0 record. The 49-member football team was led by head coach Jeremy McFarland, assistant head coach Greg Barclay and non-faculty assistant coaches Mike Akers and Dewayne Vinson, who were also commended for “doing an exceptional job in continuing the winning tradition” of the school. • Approved a consent agenda that included a monthly personnel report; monthly substitute teacher approval report; monthly financial reports/business activity; and the recognition of a construction easement near the Ridgemont Elementary School property, recently granted by the Obion County Commission to the Tennessee Department of Transportation to assist in the construction of the new Highway 45 and, more specifically, where the old Highway 45 will intersect with the new four-lane highway. The personnel report for the month listed leaves of absence for Obion County Central High School teachers Shannon Lyon and Sarah Frazier and Lake Road Elementary School custodian Tonya Worley; the resignations of Black Oak Elementary School custodians Loyd Ray and Dorothy Ray and OCCHS teacher Tina Osborne; the hirings of Black Oak custodian Elizabeth Hoffman (to replace Loyd Ray) and OCCHS teacher Lenise Green (to replace Cynthia Rainey, who transferred to the Career Technology Center); and the addition of substitute custodian Dennis Shannon. The substitute teachers approved for the month included Michelle Elks, Amanda Jones, Lisa Wade, Stephanie Webb, Charlie Hill, Selena Dozier, Elizabeth Wright, Rhonda Davis, Andrea Roberts, Jeannine Easley, Scarlett McKinney, Bethany Palmer, Karami Hagan, Gary Dunlap, Merrianne Call, Amy Bright, Delana McDaniel, Jeanette Williams, Shelia Cashion, Tracie Bing, Tracye Pollard, Carolina Smith, Drue Barnes, Patricia Davis, Darla Hale, Rochelle Moore, Tim Spain and Betty Miller. • Approved the second and final reading of an amendment to board policy regarding community use of school facilities. The amendment makes an exception for incorporated student youth athletic organizations that are in compliance with the administrative procedure addressing such organizations. • Approved the first reading of an amendment to board policy regarding registered sex offenders. The Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) recommended the amendment to comply with recent changes to state law which allow sex offenders to enter onto school property for the limited purposes of making deliveries and attending parent/teacher conferences. An additional prohibition prevents registered sex offenders from loitering within 500 feet of school buildings or grounds. • Approved on first reading, with the second reading waived, an amendment to board policy regarding school support organizations. Huss said the policy has been amended several times and the proposed change presented Monday night strikes the word “cooperative,” a change which will allow the board to continue with its efforts to enter into written agreements with school support organizations. He also commended the school support organizations for their efforts. • Approved the first reading of an amendment to board policy regarding interscholastic athletics, as recommended by the TSBA. The proposed change deals with the language of the anti-bullying program and is simply a clerical amendment, according to Huss. • Approved the first reading of an amendment to board policy in regard to personnel records, as recommended by the TSBA. The policy has been modified to add information to the list of those prohibited from disclosure, as well as expands the prohibition to include the information of immediate family and household members. • Approved the first reading of an amendment to board policy regarding student discrimination/harassment and bullying/intimidation, as recommended by the TSBA. The anti-hazing language has been moved from the board policy regarding interscholastic athletics, which deals exclusively with athletic programs, and has been placed in the board policy which deals, in part, with anti-bullying programs. In addition, the language now specifically applies to all school programs and not just athletics. • Approved on first reading a policy concerning Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), which Huss said was needed by the school system in order to direct the use of such equipment. He said the Obion County School System currently has at least 10 AEDs — including two at OCCHS, two at South Fulton High School and six not yet distributed — and possibly an 11th AED. Heather Kendall, the school system’s Coordinated School Health Program director, did the research for the proposed policy. She said each school with an AED is required to have a certain number of AED-trained staff members who must also be CPR certified. She said the AEDs are both “dummy proof” and “extremely safe to use,” adding that they will be very beneficial to the schools. • Approved a resolution regarding the granting of taxing authority to school boards, specifically for the purpose of stating the Obion County School Board’s position not to actively seek the granting of taxing authority to the state’s school boards. Huss said the county commission also approved a resolution of opposition at its Oct. 20 session and the school board wanted to take some type of action to show its support of the county commission. • Approved a request from the school system’s transportation department to declare property surplus and dispose of it by the most economical method. The surplus includes two 1993 72-passenger school buses and one 1985 school bus, both of which were taken out of service due to high mileage, and a 285 John Deere lawnmower. Huss said the last time a school bus was declared surplus, the school system spent a tremendous amount of time trying to get everything set up on eBay, only to find out they had no mechanism to set up a PayPal account to receive funds and could not find another county selling via eBay to inquire about the procedures for setting up such an account using a county trustee. • Accepted a bid of $25,571 from Dale & Dale for the purchase of student lockers for Black Oak Elementary. Huss said Dale & Dale was one of three companies which followed the bidding procedure for submitting sealed bids. A fourth company submitted a lower bid but did not comply with the bid specifications. Huss said rejecting the bids and re-bidding the project due to one company’s non-compliance would send a negative message to the bidders that followed the guidelines and would jeopardize the school system’s reputation. In a related matter, the board voted to continue to follow its current bidding procedure and authorized Huss to put the procedure in writing. • Approved two overnight student trips, including a Dec. 5-6 trip for the OCCHS cheerleaders to a cheer competition in Murfreesboro and a May 1-2, 2009, trip for the Ridgemont Elementary Plus class to Hannibal, Mo. Huss noted that the Ridgemont Plus class trip to Hannibal in conjunction with a study of author Mark Twain has been very well planned by teacher Leigh Ann Davis, whose request even included lesson plans. He said the Plus class sought approval for the trip now in order to begin fundraising efforts. • Learned from Huss in his director’s update that construction crews are on site for the school system’s classroom additions, work is continuing on district accreditation, and discipline issues are down this year. He also said there would be very good news to report concerning the school system’s annual report card once the information is made public in the coming weeks. School board member Diane Sanderson was absent from Monday night’s meeting. Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 11.04.08

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