Demopolis BOE debates auditor selection

Finances took center stage at the Demopolis City Schools Board of Education meeting Monday, with members passing both the budget for the school system and the Capital Plan for fiscal year 2015.

The board passed both items unanimously. The budget estimates revenue of $18.5 million and expenses of $20.4 million added to the beginning balance of $3.7 million, leaving a projected fund balance of $1.8 million.

The capital projects planned will cost the system $202,979.36.

Several board members challenged the recommendation by Supt. Dr. Al Griffin to request the Alabama Department of Public Examiners to perform the DCS audit. Griffin said the local firm that had been doing the audit, Mason and Gardner, could not meet the price of using the state group.

Board member Linda Russell said the board had voted in January to use the local firm except every fifth year when the state examiners reviewed the school system.

“I like to save money, too,” she said, but Mason and Gardner, like so many other businesses in the community, are frequently asked for help and financial support for school activities, she said.

Board chairman Jim Stanford asked if the comparisons between the two auditing groups were the same. He also pointed out that when the school system was without a CFO, Mason and Gardner stepped in daily to keep the finances straight at no cost to the system.

The board voted to table the issue until the next meeting for further study.

The board’s teacher attendance incentive program was amended to extend to support personnel as well. The incentives do not include principals and administrators.

In other action the board:

  • Approved overnight travel for U.S. Jones fifth grade Enrichment students to travel to Dauphin Island October 27-29.
  • Approved the legislative mandate to update the policy on how to handle sexual offenders coming on to a campus.
  • Approved maternity leave for Kendra Elmore from Jan. 5 to March 30, 2015.
  • Hired Stephanie Foster as USJ Special Education Teacher.
  • Recognized board members Linda Russell, Ronnie O’Neal and Conrad Murdock for completing the Alabama Association of School Boards Academy levels of training. Russell reached the Master Year 1 level, and O’Neal and Murdock, level 2.
  • Set the next board meeting for Monday, Oct. 20.