ELIZABETHTOWN — The Bladen County Board of Education is materially compliant, according to a recent audit by Adam Scepurek, CPA with the accounting firm Anderson Smith & Wike.
“It was a clean audit, meaning we tested the figures and believe they are good and true numbers,” Scepurek said. “It also means there are no exceptions to state and federal requirements and they have adequate controls over their finances.”
Scepurek said the system is in what he calls “uninteresting territory,” meaning it does not have too much money in the general fund, nor does it have enough.
While no statutory amount exists for state school systems, Scepurek said a healthy goal for municipalities and governments — and one frequently aspired to — is maintaining 7 percent of the operating budget in the general fund.
“That would mean with their budget of $45.5 million, a recommended fund balance would be $3.2 million,” he explained.
The district had $1.2 million in the general fund and $900,000 in the special revenue fund, for a total of $2.1 million.
The figures, however, reflect the budget as of last summer, before $700,000 was transferred out in September to cover the decrease in enrollment and subsequent lower-than-predicted allotment from the state.
“Obviously, if they use all that, they’ll be down in the 3 percent range,” Scepurek explained. “It would be nice to add more, but they do have some to spend, and they’re not in a position of dire straits like they were a couple of years ago.”
The accountant added the district has “really strengthened its position” over the last two years by adding almost $1 million each year to the fund balance.
The report as presented was approved by the board.
In other business, the board:
— Heard from Jason Williams about Bladen County Released Time, a program that teaches the Bible to school students. The program is allowable by law, he said, citing a 1952 Supreme Court ruling. Students who have opted into Released Time and acquired parental permission are taken off site for instruction. Released Time utilizes its own buses and carries its own general liability, student accident, and auto insurance.
— Heard from Asst. Superintendent Tanya Head about legislation that will affect the school system in the fall. Beginning with the new school year, N.C. high schools will be implementing new curriculum to teach remedial college classes. The program will be implemented in partnership with community colleges.
— Heard from district staff about an outbreak of bed bugs in the county. District staff are working on drafting a bed bug policy.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing email@example.com.