Independent auditor finds minor 'timing issues' at CMSD


Jason Spears

Jason Spears



Slim Smith



The Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees approved an independent audit for the year ending on June 30, 2019, during Wednesday's meeting, a report that listed a handful of minor irregularities that have been addressed.


The board hired Megan St. Clair, a certified public accountant based in Carriere, to perform the audit. St. Clair noted irregularities ranging from delays in deposits upon receipt of payments that caused some expenses to be credited to the wrong school year, improper calculations on ad valorem revenue based on using outdated data and a failure to file paperwork for retirees who had returned to work in the district in the prescribed time frame.


"Most of the findings of timing issues," St. Clair told the board.



St. Clair noted that insurance checks issued to the district on June 30, 2019 -- the last day of the fiscal year -- were not deposited into the district's account until July 23.


"There was another check that was deposited later than that," St. Clair said. "That means the money wasn't booked into the proper year."


The ad valorem tax calculations for the year were based on data not allowed by state statute, St. Clair noted.


"The law states you can go back to any one of the immediate three preceding years to do those estimates," St. Clair said. "For some reason, you went back four years, which was outside the purview of the law."


St. Clair also noted in her report a delay in filing paperwork for rehiring retirees.


"When you hire retirees to come back to work, state law and PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) require that the employee's forms need to be submitted within five days of the date of their employment," St. Clair said. "We had two instances where that paperwork wasn't submitted within that time period.


Board president Jason Spears asked if there was any penalty for missing the submission deadline.


"You can be fined $200, but I've never seen that happen," St. Clair said. "My recommendation, especially with retirees, is that before they start working you have them fill out their paperwork and have that submitted right away. The big thing is to get it submitted before they go into the classroom or start their jobs."


The board voted unanimously to approve the audit.



Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]



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