Schools get ‘clean opinion’

Published 12:39 am Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beaufort County Schools got a “clean opinion” in its audit for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

This means the accounting firm of Dixon, Hughes, Goodman found no problems with the school system’s books, which accurately reflect the system’s financial condition at the close of the fiscal year.

“We had no disagreements,” said Adam Scepurek, a certified public accountant with the firm. “We had no findings or issues.”

The audit shows the school system had total assets of more than $85.369 million as of June 30, with $5.5. million cash on hand.

“This is the balance sheet, essentially, for Beaufort County Schools as a whole,” Scepurek said.

The board voted unanimously to accept the audit report.

Board member Robert Belcher pointed out the system’s food-service budget was some $70,000 in the red, as reflected in the audit.

“That program’s got to be self-supporting,” Belcher said, later adding, “We need to get on top of that.”

Schools officials are working to bring food costs under control, suggested Laurie Modlin, the system’s executive director of financial and auxiliary services.

Some healthful school-lunch choices aren’t as popular with students as officials would like, which may be part of the problem, Modlin related.

The food-service budget has fallen short of being self-sustaining before, indicated Belcher and board Chairman Mac Hodges.

“We don’t need to go back down the same road that we came,” Hodges said.

In other business, the board voted unanimously to elect Hodges chairman and Cindy Winstead vice chairwoman. Hodges was appointed chairman earlier this year when Belcher stepped down from that post. As chairman, Hodges leads the school board’s meetings, calling them to order and wielding the gavel during debate and discussion. Winstead would preside over the meetings in Hodges’ absence.