Archived Story

Audit of county schools called useful by officials

Published 10:31pm Monday, August 25, 2014

Tallapoosa County Board of Education officials say that an audit released Friday by the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts was a tool that will be beneficial to them as they move forward.

The report on the board finances from Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013, found the system to be handling funds well overall. The major findings included the fact that the county had not received its share of tax revenues, that in some cases a school was holding onto cash too long and that benefits were being paid from an improper account.

District Chief Financial Officer Phil Blasingame called the audit helpful and said officials addressed the concerns immediately.

“It was really a good audit from our standpoint,” Blasingame said. “Two of the things were things where we just hadn’t communicated effectively with all the people involved and certainly, the findings in the tax distribution was a benefit in that we were underpaid by about $120,000.”

Blasingame said that Tallapoosa County contracts with a company called RDS to collect and disburse taxes to local school boards. The auditor discovered that RDS was using an outdated disbursement form that had improper formulas to calculate how the money was to be distributed.

The audit found that the issue resulted in the city boards of education located within Tallapoosa County, Alexander City and Tallassee, owing the Tallapoosa County Board of Education a total of $122,134.68.

“They just had some been using an old formula,” Blaingame said. “RDS has now been notified and have now made corrections in its calculation formulas to reflect the correct formulas. So that is good from our standpoint.”

Another finding was that at Reeltown, cash taken in for school lunches had been kept on campus for extended periods of time before being deposited into the school’s account.

Blasingame said that many times the schools that are picked to be audited often have been following outdated procedures for convenience.

“In that case, we immediately met with them and the manager has been made aware of the state guidelines which are required to be followed when depositing money,” Blasingame said. “We will monitor this to make sure deposits are deposited into the bank within the time frame allowed by the state and so far that has been the case.”

Blasingame said in the other finding on payment of benefits, a new procedure for accounting has been established to avoid a recurrence of the same issue in the future.