UC School Board receives good audit report for 2008
Posted: Friday, January 16, 2009 9:04 pm
By TERRI JENKINS-BRADY
Special to The Messenger
Despite some minor items, the Union City School System has received a good 2008 audit.
The audit report concerning the governmental activities, major funds and budgetary comparisons for the general purpose school fund, federal projects fund and centralized cafeteria fund was received by the Union City Board of Education during its regular meeting Monday night.
The audit findings were presented to the board by Craig Atwill of Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC, Certified Public Accountants.
Atwill brought smiles to the faces of the board members as he first thanked them and all the staff, including administrative as well as teaching. “Thank you for all the hard work you do. I know it sometimes seems like kind of a thankless job.” His next comment drew a few appreciative chuckles. “And I’d just like to double the school board’s pay. Now, I know, two times zero still equals zero. But if I could, I’d double or even triple the pay for the fine job you do.”
Atwill outlined the results of the audits after having presented each board member with two bound books of multiple, detailed report pages. “The state (of Tennessee) makes us generate an awful thick book with everything we have to put in, from how we recognize revenue to the retirement plan and so on,” Atwill explained.
For all of the audits conducted, Atwill said his firm had “no issues, no disagreements,” for the year ending June 30, 2008, in comparing their findings with the reports from the school system. The total net assets were found to be $15,104,749, with liabilities and net assets in the amount of $14,974,098, a change of $212,958 in net assets, as duly noted by Atwill.
Like most other businesses, the Union City Board of Education contributes to matching funds for administrative and teaching staff’s social security, retirement and insurance payments. But it must also pay teachers’ salaries; purchase textbooks, supplies and materials; operate cafeterias and fund programs for vocational and special education students; and cover regular bills for buildings’ heating, lighting and maintenance. Atwill noted there were a few small violations which his firm had to report in the audit, such as a few disbursements which had been dated after the purchase of an item, and one expenditure for which a purchase order could not be found. The board’s response was to note appropriate corrective measures will be discussed and put in place.
Atwill concluded by saying most accounting firms, his included, prefer financial functions be designated to specific staff persons — one person to write all checks, one to keep the books and so on. “We know these functions are not totally segregated (in the Union City School System), because we know you don’t have the budget for a staff to do so.”
Board chairman Glenda Caudle then had a question for Atwill. “We have been cautioned over and over about parent groups that are responsible for money. Does your audit include these?”
“We don’t have anything to do with those,” Atwill answered.
Mrs. Caudle then asked for a motion to receive the audit report, which was put forth by Ellarine Moses and seconded by vice chairman Shea Riley III.
In other business, retired Union City school teacher Tricia Wilson addressed the board to report on her new part-time position.
Mrs. Wilson said her position was created to assist teachers who have to address every student’s needs, with an emphasis on the No Child Left Behind program and the push for the inclusion of special education students in regular classrooms. She works closely with each school’s counselors, identifying specific needs of the students.
“I have a checklist for teachers of everything which may be hindering a student from learning in that classroom. I address these with ideas and strategies and meet with the teachers,” Mrs. Wilson said.
She also assists teachers with proper documentation and she noted, “The paperwork is overwhelming.” Thanks to her classroom observations, she is able to document educators’ ideas and strategies and give the teachers support.
“I’ve been in the (Union City School) system for 27 years,” Mrs. Wilson continued. “I taught for 30 years, the majority of which was in special ed. I have experience in a psychiatric hospital and also runaway houses, but I always, always wanted to teach individually,” which she did. As she approached retirement, Mrs. Wilson said she wanted to do something a little different. “I personally want to thank you for this position,” she added.
She works especially with the at-risk students, not just special ed, and said being at risk represents a progression that leads to the students dropping out of school. “These are the students failing over the years; in a few classes and then more, as they are in middle school. We have to grab them before they drop out of high school. ... The interventions the teachers are doing are getting students off of the at-risk list and keeping them in school.”
Union City Director of Schools Gary Houston provided a brief personnel update. He noted Union City High School basketball teams were off to a good start and the middle school teams were headed into the second half of their season. He also commended UCHS senior Doreal Strayhorn, student representative to the board, for her participation in a hard-fought basketball game last week. Miss Strayhorn had previously led the board in the Pledge of Allegiance to open the meeting.
Houston noted Union City schools will be dismissed Monday in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and he announced the week of Jan. 25-31 is School Board Appreciation Week. “While I know Mr. Atwill doubled your salary, there will also be invitations sent to you to come out to the schools and see activities in your honor,” Houston said.
Mrs. Caudle thanked Union City School System finance director Carol Flood, saying, “We are so grateful for all the work you do.” She turned to Mrs. Wilson, saying, “We appreciate your efforts with our children who are struggling,” and added, “and Mrs. Wilkinson (system classroom and curriculum coordinator), thanks for holding things together.”
Riley also thanked Mrs. Flood. Dr. Wright Jernigan was absent.
Editor’s note: Terri Jenkins-Brady is co-owner of Write Up The Road Publishing & Media of Kenton, along with her husband Timothy D. Brady.
Published in The Messenger 1.16.09
Union City School Board