New procedures covering the manner in which schools handle cash receipts have been adopted following a unanimous vote by Webster Parish School Board members during a special meeting Monday.
Now, cash in schools must be deposited within three to five days after the funds have been received. The exception is small sums needed for petty cash, according to the new policy.
"The big change is that we have five days to deposit the money from schools," Superintendent Dr. Daniel Rawls explained. "Before, the three day time allowed was hard to meet under some circumstances. If the person responsible for handling the money was sick, for example, the time period might expire."
Board president Charles Strong asked if there existed a ceiling "...beyond which we should ask for a more immediate deposit. I was wondering if a school took in more than, say, $250, should the deposit be made that day."
Director of Business and Finance, Crevonne Odom, said the school system has a current policy which requires that all schools have a safe.
"The intent is that the money collected should be locked safely away as soon as possible until it can be deposited," she said.
Odom said the new policy was being made effective July 1, 2013.
"We're making the policy retroactive in order to prevent getting a 'finding' on our next audit," she explained.
If a significant issue is identified during an audit, the auditor classifies that issue a "finding." Findings include criteria or a basis for determining that a problem does exist. Findings usually result in
recommendations designed to be helpful.
Board members also approved spending just under $500,000 in Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) funds for improvements at parish schools.
The biggest chunk of the money ($399,970) was designated for the purchase of internal connection drops.
"This helps meet the technology upgrades we had hoped to get completed," Rawls said. "We were afraid we wouldn't have enough money to get this done."
A little more than $88,600 was approved to purchase window air conditioning units for J.L. Jones, Richardson and Brown elementary schools and at north Webster junior high schools. Just over
$15,600 was approved to purchase water coolers for all parish schools except Doyline, North Webster Upper Elementary and North Webster Lower Elementary schools.
"We had about $500,000 in QSCB funds left to spend and these items take just about all that," Rawls said. "It was important that we spend all the QSCB funds before the end of the year."
Board members also approved the purchase of two special needs school busses for $89,570 each to be paid from the '96 sales tax fund and the purchase of four replacement doors at North
Webster Junior High School at a total cost of $5,538. The money will come from the Sarepta maintenance fund.
Odom told the board that sales tax collections were running 1.25 percent, or around $44,000, below last year's totals.