No Money Was Misspent Or Missing

Published 4:36 pm Thursday, October 20, 2011

BUCKINGHAM – On Wednesday, October 12, the school board met with the board of supervisors to hear from the auditing firm of Robinson, Farmer and Cox Associates about the results of a recent school audit.

Although supervisors voted on Tuesday night to conduct the meeting in open session, Supervisor Kitchen requested that the motion he made at that time be reconsidered. In turn, his fellow supervisors, in a unanimous vote, agreed to hold the meeting in closed session.

After the vote, BOS Chairman Bill Talbert told the audience that after the boards met with the auditors and discussed the issues, they would return to open session. He stated, “It will be discussed when we come out.”

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Subsequently, both boards took the proper action to go into closed session under code section 2.2-37111.A.1. The section authorizes closed sessions for the discussion, consideration, or interviews of prospective candidates for employment; assignment, appointment, promotion, performance, demotion, salaries, disciplining, or resignation of specific public officers, appointees, or employees of any public body, and evaluation of performance of departments or schools of public institutions of higher education where such evaluation will necessarily involve discussion of the performance of specific individuals.

Upon returning to the auditorium, each board went through the necessary certification before going back into regular session.

At that time, Talbert asked if there were any questions relating to the audit.

From the audience, Bob Reck offered that the board of supervisors called for the audit because of a discrepancy in finances. “So if you can explain to us where the difference is then maybe we could understand it a little better and ask questions,” he stated. “But, we can't ask questions when we don't know what has taken place.

Robert Huff, of Robinson Farmer and Cox, said that the board of supervisors requested them to look into four matters that were related to school financing. He explained that the audit they performed was not like the comprehensive one performed at the end of the year for all funds.

The first matter, said Huff, was the bus garage project. “There were other accounting interests called prepaids and we were asked to prepare some schedules related to new positions and administrative salaries,” he stated. “And, that was the work that we did-we looked into all those items.”

Continuing, Huff said, “To give you a broad statement on that-at no time did we find that there was any money missing or anything like that.

“We found four specific errors of accounting and reporting within the bus garage project relating to the timing of the year and the coding and classifications in accounting,” stated Huff.

Moving on to the prepaids, Huff shared, “We went over most of those twice and we did find some corrections to the prepaids that were prepared by the school board.” He explained that prepaids are items that are paid in or around June that are applicable to the following fiscal year.

“The salary schedules that we prepared are a matter of record. We just took those from 06/10 and put those in the report as well as new positions created,” said Huff, adding that they just summarized them for the record.

“And, really that's the extent, nature, and duration of the project that we did,” explained Huff.

Reck shared that prior to supervisors calling for the audit, the school board was seeking an additional $1.8 million in funding and the county gave them $800,000. “The following Monday, they stated that they would do an audit to see where the discrepancy was,” he stated.

“We were asked to look into these specific accounts and found adjustments within several of them,” responded Huff.

County Administrator Rebecca Carter clarified that the auditors did not try to balance the school budget. “They tried to look at the things where we thought discrepancies were and again, not misspent money, not stolen money, not missing money but money that for example the prepaids-we found that they did not prepay as much as we were told,” said Carter.

She offered, “I think we have all found some answers to the differences we've had.” Carter added, “At this point, I believe the school is having someone come in and look at their budget.”

Chairman Talbert stated, “I'd just like to simply say that by this audit and by us working together as a school board and a board of supervisors, we have come closer.” He continued, “Because now you know the discrepancies.”

Talbert shared, “And they are going to be taken care of.” He added, “In the future, you will see a difference.”

School Board Chairman Acie Allen thanked supervisors for agreeing to meet in closed session. “I think that was all together appropriate given the situation. Thank you for changing your mind from last night. Also, I want to thank you for meeting with us tonight.”