Examiner presents BOE audit report

Denise Olive, state examiner of public accounts and audit manager for the district, presented the Fiscal Year 2021 audit report during the Franklin County Board of Education meeting July 19.

The audit covers the period Oct. 1, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021. Olive explained the audit determines “whether the board complied with applicable laws and regulations.”

“We issued an ‘unmodified opinion’ on the board’s financial statements,” Olive said, “which means that the financial statements were materially correct in all aspects.”

The audit did note “a couple of matters that we had findings about,” and Olive explained those in detail during her presentation.

The first one dealt with the regular bid law, as laid out in The Code of Alabama Section 16.13.B.1.A.

“It requires all expenditures of funds … to be made under contractual agreement made into by free and open competitive bidding on sealed bids to the lowest bid,” Olive said. Specifically, when the system undertakes a purchase or rental – whether for labor, equipment, supplies or other needs – at a total of $15,000 or more, the project must be bid, and the board must select the provider with the lowest responsible bid.

“During the Fiscal Year 2021, the Board purchased and leased equipment and software over the $15,000 threshold without the use of competitive bids,” said Olive. She said the audit’s recommendation for the Board is “to implement procedures to ensure that the policies are followed and competitive bids are obtained for purchases above the threshold.”

The second matter also dealt with bid laws – in this case, in legal compliance in Title 39, commonly referred to as the Public Works Law.

“That’s any project that is related to construction, installation, repair, renovation, maintenance of public buildings,” Olive explained, “as well as any other improvements to be constructed, installed, repaired, renovated, or maintained on public property paid in whole or in part of public funds.”

If such project meets the threshold of $50,000, Olive said it’s supposed to be competitively bid to follow the Public Works Law.

“During the audit period, the Board made payments in excess of $50,000 to vendors for paving, roofing, climate control and painting projects without following the provisions of the Public Works Law,” Olive said. “Since the board did not bid the projects in accordance with the Public Works Law, certain requirements pertaining to advertising bonding were not met or did not have procedures in place to ensure compliance with the Public Works Law.”

She explained they also conducted an audit of the Board’s federal financial assistance.

“We do that in accordance with the uniform guidance, which is the federal guidelines that we all follow. We also issued an unmodified opinion on the Board’s major federal financial assistance programs, which this year were the Coronavirus relief fund and the education stabilization fund.”

Olive said there was also one finding related to the education stabilization fund, part of the board’s federal financial assistance. The fund requires compliances with all state and local laws; so, since the board was not 100 percent in compliance with the Public Works Law, that also affected its compliance with the stabilization fund guidelines.

The fund also “requires a formal bidding process for anything used with federal money over $250,000,” Olive explained. She stated the Board entered into a contract of $278,000 for windows without adhering to the provisions of the Public Works Law or procurement guidelines.

The audit report can be found in its entirety at www.examiners.alabama.gov.

Among personnel matters, the board approved:

  • Retirement of Dr. Johnny Cleveland, assistant superintendent/transportation supervisor for Franklin County Schools, effective Aug. 1, 2022.
  • Employment of Paul Humphres as transportation supervisor for Franklin County Schools.

The next meeting of the Franklin County Board of Education will be Aug. 9 at 5 p.m.