By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
The Starkville School District Board of Trustees received an update on the district’s financial corrective action plan during its regular meeting Monday.
During an exit conference last fall with the accounting firm which conducted the district’s 2009 fiscal year audit, the firm representative noted a few ways the district could improve its financial records and catch up on the auditing process. One of the noted issues was that the financial department was understaffed, which kept the accounting firms from being able to access the necessary information in a timely manner.
Comptroller Rob Logan told the trustees the department is dividing up the specific responsibilities more effectively, as was outlined in the plan.
The firm handling the 2010 fiscal year audit is finalizing its report which will go on to the state auditor’s office later this month.
“They expect to have this all done before the end of February,” Logan said. “We’re hoping to be coming back to you guys soon to have the exit conference for 2010. Immediately following that, they’ll be back in house to start on 2011.”
Starkville High School choral director Regina Weeks gave a presentation to the board on her funding request for a trip to New York for 17 of her students who will perform at Carnegie Hall in the spring. While the total cost of the trip is $25,653, Weeks entered a request asking the board provide one-third of the total cost — approximately $8,551.
The school board has an annual budget of $15,000 to provide funding for student trips for activities like competitions, field trips and other off-campus activities. At this point in the school year, there is approximately $13,000 left in the budget, so board members could not agree to grant such a large portion of their money to a small group of students. Instead, the board agreed to pay the cost of transportation to and from the Birmingham airport, which totaled $1,100.
The board also approved a request that the district file for agency status with the Mississippi Department of Education and the Mississippi Standards and Training Department to recognize the school resource officers as an official police department.
Assistant Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin said the move was to protect the district SROs, who are required to receive regular certification, but currently must do so through other police departments where they are not employees.
The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for March 6.