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Deficiencies found in CPSB audit

Vidalia — An independent auditor’s report on the Concordia Parish School Board released Monday showed a deficiency in its fixed asset program and a deficit in its school lunch program fund, among other things.

The report completed by Payne, Moore and Herrington LLP, certified public accounts from Alexandria, audited the financial statements of the governmental activities, each major fund and the aggregate remaining fund information for the school board for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

The report listed significant deficiencies identified in the school board’s financial statements and federal awards.

The agency classifies a significant deficiency when compliance requirements with federal programs are not met.

The significant deficiency of the board’s financial statements dealt with its fixed asset recordkeeping and found the board “does not reconcile their detailed depreciation schedule to the general ledger.”

“The school board does not have a reliable fixed asset program and does not follow procedures in place to assist in reconciling their detailed depreciation schedule to the general ledger,” the report stated. “Therefore, there is a risk that the detailed depreciation scheduled could be unreliable and that overall fixed assets could be misstated.”

The school board’s assets exceeded its liabilities by $32.8 million, which compares to $35.4 million from the previous year.

Business Affairs Director Tom O’Neal said Monday he was unable to comment on portions of the audit until he presented the findings to the school board during its monthly meeting Thursday.

“I think overall it was another good audit with only a couple of shortcomings including our assets,” O’Neal said. “Unfortunately, we got to the end of the year and realized something was going on that we didn’t know was happening.

“It’s not like we lost any money or someone stole money, but I still hate that it happened.”

The audit suggested the school needed to follow the fixed asset procedures in place and acquire a fixed asset software program, which would accurately keep track of all fixed assets and create accurate depreciation schedules to allow the client to reconcile the general ledger.

In the management’s response to the audit, O’Neal said the current program used by the accounting department for its general fixed assets is “certainly long overdue for an upgrade.”

“In the past, we have had minor disruptions, but we have not experienced a total breakdown within the depreciation component until just this year,” O’Neal stated in the report. “Absent of a complete software upgrade, management will immediately engage itself in the writing process of a (request for purchase) for the purchase of a stand alone fixed asset software program.”

The second significant deficiency listed in the report dealt with a deficit of paid lunch equity stating the school board “did not provide sufficient non-federal source funds to their school food account for students not eligible for free or reduced priced lunches.”

O’Neal said the district is enrolled in a federal program where the district pays upfront the cost of meals for students who qualify for a free and/or reduced meal. The board later receives a reimbursement from the federal government.

“There was some miscommunication between the food service and administration folks, where we were receiving more back from the feds for the program,” O’Neal said. “You have to make a contribution to the free and reduced program yourself, and we weren’t doing that.”

O’Neal said he would be requesting Thursday the board approve an increase in student lunch fees between 3 and 10 cents to help contribute to the fund.

The request coincides with the report’s recommended action to correct the deficiency.

The first price increase, if approved, will be in August, according to O’Neal’s response in the report.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the administrative building on U.S. 84 across from the Vidalia Municipal Complex.