County schools commended for perfect audit report

The Lincoln County School District board members and Superintendent Terry Brister have high praise for district accountant Cheryl Shelby.

The officials commended Shelby last week after they learned the Mississippi State Auditor’s office found “no material findings” in the district’s accounting department and had awarded the district a certificate for achievement in financial reporting.

Shelby said that when she received the certificate from the auditor’s office she felt a great sense of accomplishment.

“It’s an achievement of a goal I’ve been working at for a long time,” she said, “and it’s recognition of hard work and of doing a good job.”

Shelby explained that it isn’t bad to have an audit with findings – “that’s normal,” she said, “because, a ‘finding’ may be something as simple as a receipt that wasn’t documented in a timely manner. Any minute detail left undone gets an imperfect audit. So, you have to work with a lot of diligence to get a perfect audit,” she said.

“And, it’s not just what I do, but what all the people involved do,” she said. She explained that there are many different employees that are taking in money for various things and all of their work and the work of the four other accounting department employees in the district office has to be flawless.

“I’m blessed to have great employees who’ve learned to do things right and we follow the policy, ‘if it’s not right, don’t do it.'”

Shelby said that another goal she had when she started working for the district in 2001 was to put the district on the right financial path. Back then the district was using 16th Section land profits to make the payroll. She said it was important that payroll be taken care of by annually renewable funds and that the money the district made through land management projects was to be saved for improvement projects, or things that could move the district forward.

“I think Mr. Brister and the Lincoln County School Board are committed to carrying the district into the future,” Shelby said. “And, I know that it’s my responsibility to have the funds there for them to do that.

“I’m very proud of the fact that we built two gyms – Enterprise and Bogue Chitto – and we were able to pay for them with cash – $5 million. We were able to do that because we made a commitment not to borrow and set aside funds raised through 16th Section land management, and we didn’t have to ask taxpayers for money.”

In announcing the certificate of achievement, State Auditor Stacy Pickering said in a press release, “I would like to congratulate the Lincoln County School District for their exemplary work over the previous year, which led to this clean audit.”

Brister said the perfect audit should assure taxpayers that their money is being managed with care.

“That’s a great report,” he said. “It gives a lot of satisfaction to know that we are using and caring wisely for the taxpayers’ dollars. It should be comforting to the taxpayers of Lincoln County. Cheryl does an outstanding job and she keeps up with state accounting policies and procedures.”

In other business at their Tuesday meeting, school board members:

• Approved the district’s financial statements and audit.

• Approved a request from Mickey Myers for permission to declare an emergency regarding a toilet overflow and gave permission to pay for repairs.

• Approved requests from Stan Long and Howard Stogner concerning 16th Section land issues.

• Accepted the 2013-14 certified and non-certified personnel recommendations.

• Approved the removal and addition of personnel on the substitute teachers’ list for the 2013-14 school year.

• Allowed the request of Myers to accept a check from the Bogue Chitto Booster Club.

• Accepted Myers’ request to send a letter to a parent.

• Accepted Principal Jason Case’s request to sell old baseball jerseys as a fundraiser for the baseball program.

• Approved the use of Symphony Math online curriculum.

• Approved a new water well.

• Accepted the request to put a permanent goal post on the practice football field.

• Approved the student transfer/release requests.

The next county school board meeting will be 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, in the Lincoln County School District’s main office at 233 E. Monticello St., Brookhaven.