The Levelland ISD Board of Trustees met last night in a regular meeting. The full report from that meeting is below.
The Levelland ISD School Board was recognized as part of school board appreciation month in the State of Texas.
The board held a public hearing on the Texas Academic Performance Report. Levelland ISD met standard. Most of the information shared in the report has been previously reported. The report will be available on district campuses and also at the school administration office. It will also be available online at the school’s website at http://www.levellandisd.net
The district heard the audit report from the accounting firm of Myatt, Blume and Fidaleo accounting firm. The firm was able to give an unqualified clean audit report for the general fund. It was pointed out that the district has $34.6 Million in cash, however, $26.5 Million is spoken for in the bond issue which leaves just over $4.5 Million. It was also pointed out that there was some money due from the Texas Education Agency in regards to Federal Programs, which the district had not seeked reimbursement for as of August 31, 2014. A discrepancy in the accounting record for some vehicles leased in 2013-2014 was pointed out. For governmental purposes the full cost of the vehicles should have been budgeted for, however, only the annual lease payment was budgeted. The vehicles were approved for purchase/lease of the vehicles on April 7, 2014. The minutes from that meeting was reviewed indicating the board approved the lease of 2 pickups and 2 Vans for Maintenance and Custodial departments. A SUV was purchased outright at the same meeting. It was also pointed out that a new requirement coming from the state is a requirement to show the amount owed to the Texas Retirement System for every school district in the state. This requirement could cause districts in the state to go in debt almost immediately at least on audit documents. This will complicate the budget process, a district cannot keep going into fund balance or budgeting deficit budgets. It was noted that the Texas Retirement System for school employees has invested their funds however, those investments have not performed as well as they should have and now they are coming to the school districts to make up the difference in what was paid in to what is needed to pay retirement benefits for the districts retirees. It was pointed out that the accounting firm had to give a Qualified Opinion on the Federal Funds portion of the budget, showing a finding for the lack of requests for reimbursements for federal funds, mainly the Head Start program. It was noted that the contract for Head Start indicates the district will request reimbursement within 30 days after the close of the month. It was noted that the request for the August expenses was just submitted 2 weeks ago. The district’s Chief Financial Officer, Nick Williams stated that their have been some challenges in the past 3 years and a change in personnel has caused the reports to not be done in a timely manner. A reduction in staff in that office and the loss of experienced personnel in that department has also attributed to the problems. He noted that plans have been put in place to correct these issues. The audit also pointed out that the District experienced a period where bank reconciliations were not prepared timely and correctly. The firm recommended the district review the design of the accounting department and make adjustments to job assignments. A supervisor should be denoted as the person responsible for reviewing transactions in all areas of accounting. The district should also consider having a mid-management supervisor to assist the supervisor in directing personnel within the department. They also recommended more training be provided to the personnel hired for the department. The District will consider adding accounting personnel, implementing a monthly, quarterly, and annual checklist, limiting accounting personnel to accounting duties only and hire better qualified staff and provide training opportunities where needed. The Chief Financial Officer will work to correct the finding. The audit also indicated that corrective action was taken following last years finding concerning pledged collateral at bank depository was less than required. The district implemented procedures to track and monitor daily cash balances and compare those balance to pledged securities issued by the depository bank.
The board took action to order the trustee election for Saturday, May 9, 2015. Trustees for District 2 and District 4 are up for new terms this year.
The board also approved administration proceeding to accept bids and sell a duplex located at 1401 Ave. D which was recently purchased by the district as it is near South Elementary.
The board also reviewed a timeline for the Superintendent Search Process. Applications will be accepted through March 6 and the board will conduct interviews in April and May. The board is expected to name the Lone Finalist for the position on May 18 and make a recommendation to hire following the 21 day waiting period following the naming of the finalist would be June 11 and then a start date would be negotiated with the finalist.
The board also approved a new fund raising policy. The district Superintendent will have final approval of all fund raising activities. It is the goal of the policy that students raising money will know and be able to share with individuals what the money is being raised for. The board actually requested that students raising money be given a copy of the application for fundraising activity to show to individuals once it has been approved by the Superintendent.
The Board also approved Quarterly Financial Reports as presented by the Finance Office.
It was also noted that Levelland ISD was awarded the 21st Century Grant. The grant was applied for 3 years ago with area school districts including Slaton, Wilson, O’Donnell, Lamesa and Brownfield. A total of 20 campuses from all of the districts was awarded the grant. This includes, Levelland ABC, Levelland Intermediate, Levelland Middle School and Levelland High School. In addition to academic programming the grant will provide activities such as fine arts, technology, health/fitness as well as college and career readiness activities for students. The grant will begin on March 1, 2015 and will fund the next 2 years. It is estimated that over the course of the grant the district could receive an approximate amount of $200,000 to help fund some after school activities.