Baker schools receive positive feedback in audit

The Baker School District is in good financial shape and keeping accurate records, according to a report from the Postlethwaite and Netterville accounting firm.

The board unanimously accepted the report Tuesday night and voted 4-1 to approve a $10,000 payment to the firm for additional services.

Board members Troy Watson, Shona Boxie, Dana Carpenter and Elaine Davis voted for the measure. Doris Alexander abstained.

The firm originally bid $43,500 for the auditing job. The extra expense was incurred because “some of the work of the previous auditor was lacking,” Superintendent Ulysses Joseph said.

Postlethwaite and Netterville’s Freddie Smith told the board that the school system has a $9.5 million reserve, which amounts to 56 percent of the district’s annual expenditures.

Smith said a 15 percent to 20 percent surplus is generally recommended.

Despite the positive audit, the report noted some “weaknesses in internal control.”

The district has not kept an accurate inventory of land, buildings and other capital assets, he said.

School officials also mislabeled some funds, resulting in the district requesting more Title I funds from the federal government than it should have. School district staff had already noted and corrected the problem before the audit, Smith said.

The audit pointed out that food service operations ran a $70,000 deficit during the school year. Smith said the deficit should not be a problem, assuming that it is corrected in the 2013 school year.

Other business before the board included:

BAKER HIGH: The board heard a report from Clay Slagle, of Volkert Inc., regarding the condition of Baker High School. The company recommends more than $4 million needs to be spent on repairs and upgrades for the school.

Drainage, roof leaks, moisture infiltration, damaged or nonfunctioning restrooms, nonfunctioning equipment, Americans With Disability Act noncompliance issues, inadequate fire alarm systems and limited security systems were among the problems cited in the report.

Slagle said a number of campus buildings have vertical cracking on the outside. The damage might indicate foundation movement and could be caused by inadequate drainage, he said.

Slagle estimated that a new facility to replace the 62-year-old school would cost $15 million.

“The building is solid,” Slagle said. “There are a few structural issues, but it can be renovated.”