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Schools see ‘clean’ financial audit report

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OXFORD — At its Jan. 6 meeting, the Granville County Board of Education received the official financial audit for the 2018-19 fiscal year from the firm of Anderson, Smith and Wike PLLC.

Partner Dale Smith summarized the 72-page report to the board, commenting, “these reports are the cleanest reports that a governmental entity can receive in an audit of its financial statement.”

Board Chairman David Richardson responded to the audit results: “The board is pleased with the results of this year’s audit. In striving to be transparent and accountable for the funds entrusted to us, this process affirms our staff and procedures while showing the public our financial standing.”

Smith walked board members through various highlights of the report, including an overview of the budget, as well as the status of fund balance — the district’s “rainy day” fund. The total budget of governmental activities for the district during the 2018-2019 fiscal year was $90,991,833.

“The total fund balance at June 30, 2019 was $6,229,570, which as a percentage of total governmental expenditures represents 7.26 percent,” Smith said.

Smith explained the importance of monitoring fund balance to ensure the district remained in sound financial standing. He noted that while there is no required threshold for percentage of fund balance that the district should maintain, other governmental entities such as towns, cities and municipalities use 8 percent as a general target for their savings.

“Over the past three years, the district has not had any major compliance issues.” Smith concluded. “The state puts a lot of restrictions on how the money is to be spent, so all of your directors and the finance department are responsible for ensuring the funds are spent in the proper manner, and they have done an excellent job in spending those funds the way they were supposed to be.

“It says a lot about the folks you have in charge that there are no findings with this audit. We audit over 50 districts across the state, and there is not anyone doing as great a job as (Assistant Superintendent of Finance Beth) Day and her team. Y’all have a top notch finance department.”

The board uses a third-party independent auditing firm to review financial records as a measure of accountability and certification as required by state law. This helps ensure that the district remains a good steward of taxpayer dollars.

“I am very proud to see the high quality work of our finance team and staff from across the district confirmed by this independent report,” Superintendent Alisa McLean said. “This is fundamental to our primary goal of educating students and I commend them for a job well done.”