School board receives clean audit report

Carteret County Schools Finance Department employees, from left, Casey Harris, senior accountant, Libby McCarthy, accounts payable supervisor, and Finance Officer Kathy Carswell hold national awards received for financial reporting for 2019 during the County Board of Education meeting Wednesday. The finance department also received a clean audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30. (Cheryl Burke photo)

BEAUFORT The County Board of Education approved a clean audit report Wednesday for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

The action came during a meeting in the school system’s central services office on Safrit Drive in Beaufort.

In addition, the board recognized the system’s finance department for winning two awards for financial reporting for 2019. The department earned the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association and the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Report Award from the Association of School Business Officials.

“This is the 27th consecutive year the department has received the excellence for financial reporting award,” Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson said last week.

As for the audit report, it shows the school system ended fiscal 2019-20 with $3.5 million in its general fund balance. Of that amount, $1.96 million is available for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. The rest is obligated to outstanding costs or is restricted.

The school system’s fiscal year runs from July 1 of one year to June 30 of the next.

Adam Scepurek with Anderson, Smith and Wike PLLC of Statesville, the company that conducted the audit, said the school system ended the year with a fund balance about $1.3 million higher than the previous year. He said some of that was due to savings from schools being closed or hours cut back because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He encouraged the school system to build up its fund balance due to uncertain future impacts of the pandemic.

“Regarding the long-term impacts on operations, it’s in every district’s best interest to add to their fund balance,” he said. “It’s a long and unknown future.”

The school system showed $10.2 million in capital outlay funds, with the bulk of that from state Hurricane Florence recovery funds.

The county received $10 million in Hurricane Florence recovery money from the state to help with continued repairs not covered by insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“This is a restricted fund balance. The deadline (to use the money) is five years from the time it was received,” Mr. Scepurek said. “Anything unused must be sent back (to the state).”

He added that the funds can only be used for repairs related to Hurricane Florence damage after money from FEMA and insurance reimbursements have been exhausted.

Finance Officer Kathy Carswell said the school system plans to use some of the funds for roof repairs at Morehead City Middle School, Croatan High School and Smyrna Elementary School.

Mr. Scepurek encouraged the board to make sure any storm-related damage is addressed prior to sending remaining money back.

The audit also shows that the school’s food service program, which operates as a separate enterprise, ended the year with $563,851 in excess revenues and other sources over expenditures.

Some of that is thanks to receiving $507,000 in federal funds and $132,000 in state funds for summer feeding programs during the coronavirus pandemic.

The board approved the audit report with a unanimous vote and thanked Ms. Carswell and her team for the clean report. Members also praised the finance department for receiving the finance awards.

 

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

 

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