Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

March 28, 2014

Board approves budget, calendar

By Steve Woodhouse Editor
The Journal Express

---- — With no general public present, and nary a comment from board members, the Knoxville School Board approved the 2014-15 school budget and calendar.

Public hearings were held for both agenda items. There were no changes to the proposed budget since it was published in the Journal-Express. The district’s total levy for the coming year will be roughly $14.94 per $1,000 of taxable valuation.

As for the calendar, the year will begin with a new teacher workshop on Aug. 13. The first day of classes will be Aug. 18, and the end of the school year will be June 1, 2015.

The board also approved the 2012-13 audit report. Business Manager Craig Mobley reviewed the 72-page report prior to the meeting and discussed specific items in detail. Mobley does this every year in an attempt to answer questions and clarify what the auditor’s comments mean or why his office performs a task in a specific manner. One concern auditors often express is separation of duties within the business office.

“We do the best we can,” Mobley said. There are only two people working in the business office. The district qualified for a low-risk audit.

Another area of discussion was in regard to negative food service account balances.

“I don’t have an answer for that one,” Mobley said. The district has hired a collection firm to handle the billing and collection of delinquent accounts. Board Vice President Mike Helle believes the board should revisit the amount an account can be in the red before further action is taken.

“I would never vote to single that kid out,” board member Tim McDonald added. Helle agreed that he does not want students to suffer, but wants to learn more about how other districts handle food service debts.

“There’s got to be an answer,” Helle said. Mobley reported that, as of Monday, delinquent food service accounts totaled over $24,000.

“In a $16 million budget,” McDonald said quickly. “I think that’s enough time spent on that.”

Mobley went on to share concerns expressed by the auditors regarding the purchase of gift cards. The district cannot buy gift cards for students. After Prom is an exception, as it is not a school organization.

“Anything to do with the school district cannot purchase gift cards,” Mobley said. The board approved the audit unanimously. A copy of the audit is available for review at the administration office.