Schools district gets positive audit


LEDGER – Mitchell County Schools received a positive financial audit for fiscal year 2018-19. 

The Mitchell County Board of Education at its regular meeting Tuesday, Dec. 17, received a review of the school system’s audit from Sharon Gillespie of Young, Miller and Gillespie Public Accountants of Spruce Pine. 

Gillespie said the school system passed the audit and noted its three biggest financial outliers for the fiscal year were the addition of a new bus lease, architect fees for the new school project, and building and infrastructure improvements at Mitchell High School. 

Gillespie began her report by reviewing the school system’s balance sheet. 

“As a unit of government, the powers that be think you should be concerned with how much cash there is and how it can be used to provide services for students,” she said. 

The school system has more than three months of operating cash in its general fund, which Gillespie said is within the recommended range. 

“You’re doing very well there,” Gillespie said. 

Gillespie noted the school system’s fund balance dropped some from the previous fiscal year but she added it is mostly due to the completion of several necessary capital projects. 

The school system has 3.67 months of operating cash in its food service fund. The paid lunch fund greatly improved in fiscal year 2018-19. 

“It was a really good year for the school food service,” Gillespie said. “It operates much like a business entity in that you want it to at least break even and it’s going in the direction you want it to go in.”

Mitchell County Schools Finance Director Danny Young attributed much of the growth in the food service profits to the school system’s breakfast in the classroom program. Through this program, he said, the schools offer free breakfast to students using local funds. 

The funds are later reimbursed through the United States Department of Agriculture. 

By keeping its costs low, the school system draws a profit from the reimbursement. 

Gillespie closed her report by reiterating that the school system’s records are clean and there were no glaring issues.

“All of the school secretaries are keeping very good records,” Gillespie said. “We had absolutely no problems at the Central Office. Danny’s records are always in great shape.”