CCBOE audit outlines Hanceville High violation, corrective action

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Cullman Tribune file photo

CULLMAN, Ala. – During the July meeting of the Cullman County Board of Education (CCBOE), the board welcomed State Examiner April Purser, who delivered the results of the system’s 2017-18 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2017-Sep. 30, 2018) audit. The full report only found one point of violation at Hanceville High School, and the corrective report (listed below) outlined the correct protocols to follow and the issues found at the school that broke protocol.

“The Financial Procedures for Local Schools developed by the State of Alabama Department of Education and policies and procedures adopted by the Commission on Education provide guidelines for the proper accounting for receipts and deposits for local schools. These guidelines require specific procedures to be followed regarding teacher receipts, ticket and concession receipts for athletic events, and receipts for items sold in the school store. Procedures for teacher receipts require teachers to issue receipts to students for funds collected. Subsequently, a master receipt is required to be provided to the teacher by the school bookkeeper. Procedures for ticket and concession receipts for athletic events and school store receipts include check-up sheets to be used to document collections for each event as well as inventory counts for tickets and items sold in concessions or the school store. Additionally, the guidelines require money to be secured at all times and deposits be made timely and intact. Money received at Hanceville High School was not properly documented, receipted or deposited timely and intact. The following issues were noted:

  1. Receipts were not properly issued by teachers to students for money received, and master receipts were not provided to the teachers by the school bookkeeper.
  2. Ticket and concession money for all athletic events were not properly documented. Additionally, master receipts were not provided to the gate attendant by the school bookkeeper.

III. Documentation for sales for three separate days collected from the school store could not be provided by the person responsible for the school store. Additionally, a master receipt was not prepared by the school bookkeeper for these days.

  1. Two deposits totaling $3,653.06 – collected on March 23,2018 – were not deposited until August 20, 2018. Additionally, money collected for an athletic event on November 24, 2017 was not deposited until January 29, 2018.
  2. Undeposited cash was discovered on two separate occasions by school personnel in the office of the school bookkeeper. Procedures were not in place to ensure personnel at Hanceville High School were following policies outlined by the Commission on Education. As a result, the Commission failed to ensure all funds were properly receipted and deposited in a timely manner.”

After listing the issues, the report went on to detail how Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette and Chief School Financial Officer (CSFO) Ed Roberson responded to the violation:

“The superintendent and CSFO conduct monthly principal meetings and have asked the principals to stress the importance to their teachers that all funds collected from students be turned into the bookkeeper on a daily basis. We have also implemented an online payment system for all Cullman County Schools. The new online payment system should help greatly reduce the amount of money being turned into teachers from students. During our internal audit processes, we now issue a written noncompliance form to any teacher who is found to have held money in their classroom. The bookkeeper at Hanceville High School was removed during the audit year when our own internal audit discovered the above mentioned issues, and the principal was placed on administrative leave for failing to make timely deposits. We feel the issues were addressed when they were discovered and we shared all of our internal audit findings with the state examiner. The undeposited cash was found when cleaning and reorganizing the bookkeeper office in preparation for the new bookkeeper that was hired for the position.”

The full report (Report 19-253, County Audit for the Cullman County Commission on Education) can be found at www.examiners.alabama.gov

After the report, Barnette recognized Linda Johnson and Rhonda Hogan for the CCBOE e5 Exceptional Service Awards, though Johnson wasn’t able to make it to the meeting. He also recognized Maddie Mitchell, an FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America) member from Cold Springs High School, for attending the FCCLA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California. She competed in one of the STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) events- where members are recognized for proficiency and achievement in chapter and individual projects, leadership skills and career preparation – and achieved Gold status.

Other items on the agenda:

  • extended the contract for Jessica Reeves, counselor at Hanceville Elementary, through summer 2019
  • approved 2019-20 afterschool programs and personnel for county elementary schools
  • appointed the following personnel to probationary principal positions: Eric Dickerson (Cold Springs High), Lesley Hembree (Good Hope Middle), Beverly Jenkins (Good Hope Elementary), and Steve Miller (Holly Pond High)
  • approved Vinemont Elementary and Middle Schools to take their archery teams to the NASP Championship Archery Tournament in Nashville on July 27
  • revised board policy 6.24 – Harassment, Violence and Threats of Violence Prohibited to 6.24 – Bullying, Intimidation, Violence and Threats of Violence Prohibited to reflect the Jamari Terrell Williams Student Bullying Prevention Act (found in the Stop Bullying forms on the Alabama State Department of Education website, (www.alsde.edu/sec/pss/Pages/stopbullying-all.aspx).

The next regular meeting for the CCBOE will be Thursday, Aug. 15. The work session starts at 5:30, and the meeting starts immediately after the work session. This will also be the first public budget hearing for 2019-20.

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Heather Mann

heather@cullmantribune.com