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By Axon Parker
Three Forks Voice 

Board discusses audits, school facilities


December 26, 2019

Two primary issues dominated the school board meeting on December 17th.

The first issue was the lingering impact of financial mismanagement inherited from the previous administration. Sydni Tangaro, of Tangaro and Company CPAs, and Dan Moody, auditor from the Office of Public Instruction, were present at the meeting to report on the auditing process. The audit of the fiscal year ending in June 2018 (prior to the current administration) has just been completed. Like the audit of 2017, the verdict was a disclaimer of opinion, indicating that the auditor was not able to offer a clean (or unmodified) opinion due to missing, inaccurate, and partial reports. The 2017 audit contained twelve material weaknesses in need of correction. 50% of those have been corrected for the 2018 audit and there are no new comments, but there is still much work to be done for the 2019 audit, which they hope to have completed early next year.

Superintendent Jeff Elliott and Lisa Morgan expressed their appreciation for Sydni Tangaro's work and for the support and encouragement from OPI. Dan Moody was optimistic: "The progress is amazing," he said, "I'm elated". He hopes that everyone's hard work will have a positive effect on the upcoming bond.

Lisa Morgan reported on another unfortunate legacy from previous years, stemming from incorrect reporting on employee W-2s. Several employees recently received unwelcome letters from the IRS and it will be a complicated process to correct the information. The school is working to help them straighten out the issues as painlessly as possible.

Facilities were a major point of discussion at last week's school board meeting.

The second primary issue involves the pressing needs of the school facility - space, safety, and infrastructure needs. Elliott said that the last bond and major building improvement was in 1999 and he emphasized the cost of "kicking the can down the road". A more modest bond could address the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing issues of the existing buildings or it could provide newly constructed space, but the board feels that both need to be done as soon as possible. This may call for a larger bond and a greater risk of the bond failing to pass.

Meanwhile, the overcrowded classrooms have made the lease or purchase of portable classrooms a necessity for the next school year. The board, particularly Sheri Brown, strongly urged the procurement of the two new portables, which would provide four extra classrooms. Decisions about the bond and the portables will be made in January.

Other business included the approval of new substitute teachers and after gym cleaners, as well as amendments to principal's sick leave and payouts.

Everyone is excited about the success of the wrestling team, the Gold Star Award presented to Greg Overman, and the holiday break from December 23 - January 3.


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