Proper procedures enforced after LHS audit

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 9, 2007

After a financial audit from the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts officially reported on March 2 that monetary discrepancies were found at Luverne High School, Principal Earl Franks has put definitive procedural policies into action.

The financial audit covered the time period between Jan. 1, 2005, through May 31, 2006.

The findings led to charges of $3,246.76 against the school's cheerleader sponsor, who repaid the amount in full. The other charges were for $11,954.85, against the school's former bookkeeper, which have currently not been repaid.

&#8220On March 28, I met with our teachers to update them on how we are addressing the recommendations the auditors made and to see if they had any questions about the audit.

I informed them that if they had any questions, that I would answer them the best I could,” Franks said. &#8220At the next Board of Education meeting, I plan to address the Board and update them on these issues as well. I want to answer any questions they may have.”

The next Crenshaw County Board of Education meeting will be held April 23.

Franks said that this update will include discussing new policies/procedures now being implemented by the school's employees.

In addition, it will address policies/procedures already in place or which need improving.

&#8220We want to insure that the proper procedures are being done correctly,” he said.

Franks gave several examples of how changes have been made in handling money at the school.

&#8220One of the findings, for example, said that we were not reporting the beginning and ending ticket numbers that were sold at some of our athletic events,” Franks said. &#8220And, that some master receipts were not deposited in a timely manner. Now, we are completing those reports for every athletic event, and the ticket and money report is signed by the individual(s) who are handling it. Plus, the money taken in during any athletic event is now deposited immediately after it is over.”

In fact, Luverne School teachers will now be tearing the ticket stubs and giving the spectator half so the public can see that the tickets are being pulled, Franks added.

When it came to the audit's report stating, &#8220Cash from uniform receipts was used to purchase supplies and items needed during cheerleader camp,” Franks said that he has referred directly to the audit's recommendations.

&#8220The auditors stated that ‘the cheerleader sponsor should follow the purchasing requirements established by the Crenshaw County Board of Education,' and that is exactly what we have put into place,” he said. &#8220I feel that procedural errors were made by this employee, and we have discussed these policies, plus some additional ones, at length - some she suggested. From now on, purchasing requirements will be followed, and all uniform money will be receipted to the bookkeeper.”

Another finding by the audit showed where approximately $8,635 in football ads had been printed in the school's football program, but only $6,604 of football ad receipts had been reported as being collected and deposited to the Luverne High School account.

&#8220We did put some ads in the football program before the money was collected, but some vendors and/or individual(s) have historically paid after the program was printed due to the fact that we are usually up against a tight deadline.

I know most of these folks personally and have had much success in getting them to pay.

Many people just need a phone call or note to remind them,” Franks said. &#8220We did print the football programs without some of the ads being paid for, but not anymore.”

&#8220As a matter of fact, we just got a check for an ad on March 29.”

Franks emphasized the fact that the school is continually reminding teachers to write a completed receipt, give it to the bookkeeper in a timely manner, and get a receipt back from the bookkeeper. Money is then to be deposited timely and intact, as is according to the recommendations in the audit.

&#8220I've also told all of our sponsors to get a printout of their club accounts so they can check to make sure the correct amount of the club's money has been posted to the correct account,” he said. &#8220There are 51 different activity accounts that we currently use in one general fund account.”

&#8220Audits are not new to us,” Franks added. &#8220The school is audited on a regular basis by the Department of Public Examiners, and it has also been audited by local public accountants. I'm not aware of any critical findings from any of these other audits.”

In fact, Franks said that one of the auditors stated in the informal exit conference that if this type of audit had been done on the majority of public schools within the state, similar findings regarding counting ticket stubs at athletic events and account posting errors would be discovered.

This particular audit was done at the request of the Crenshaw County Board of Education, which, at that time, was comprised of W.B. Smith, Jr., Troy Hudson, and former Board members Jannie L. Day, Britt Richardson and William Roper.