Wednesday, November 26, 2014

School Board hears annual audit

J-E News Editor
On Monday night members of the Webster County School Board heard the results of it’s annual auditor’s report, prepared by Kem, Duguid & Associates of Hopkinsville. The audit covers the period of July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014.
As of June 30, 2014, the Webster County School District reported $21,027,014 in bonded debt and lease obligations. The largest of those is a 2008 WCHS renovation bond for which the district still owes $8,765,000 and the 2013 middle school bond of $4,650,000.  

The district also owes $900,000 for a 2006 bond issued for renovations at the now abandoned Slaughters Elementary School. Until that bond is paid off the district is required to maintain heat and air at that facility although it is not in use.
The district assumed two debts in the merger agreement with Providence Independent Schools, one in the mount of $280,000 and another for $410,000.
During last fiscal year, the district’s assets exceeded it’s liabilities by $6,676,304. Total assets for the year totaled $29,834,610, with $23,104,726 going to both current and non-current liabilities.
In it’s governmental funds, the district saw revenue of $20,008,346 during the 2013-2014 fiscal year and expenses of $23,953,531 for a loss of $3,945,184. That discrepancy was due primarily to construction work at the Webster County Middle School ($3,120,549). A $4,247,355 bond, as well as two fund transfers and funds left over from the previous fiscal year ($1,444,778) brought the district back out of the red. The ending balance was $2,188,261.
Once again Webster County Food Services paid for itself. The total operating cost for the department was $1,193,179, with $373,728 being generated through sales. Another $864,031 was brought in through federal  and state grants, commodities, state ‘on-behalf’ payments and interest, giving food services a gain of $44,580 for the year.
In other business, Webster County Area Technology Center (ATC) principal Larry Garrity appeared before the board to discuss ‘career pathways’. 
According to Garrity, statistics show that 67% of children who eventually drop out of school have made the decision to do so by Christmas of their freshman year. Introducing students to career pathways at an earlier age, he explain, was a good way to not only catch those students early, but to help all children plan for their future.
“We’re looking to guide students in both elementary and middle school towards a career pathway,” he said. “They need that instruction early. Whenever they think about what they want to be, they need to think in the direction of a career pathway.”
Through the ATC, located on the Dixon Campus, students at WCHS have access to certification level training in nursing, welding, machine tool, computer-aided drafting (CAD) and business administration.
“The high school also offers career pathways in health and consumer sciences and agriculture,” Garrity pointed out.
He added that Webster County ATC is looking at adding programs in Architectural Drafting and Industrial Maintenance (which would included electrical classes).
“Hats off to you and your staff,” said Superintendant Dr. Rachel Yarbrough. “We have such an opportunity here to impact our students.”
Marcus Highland with Clotfelter-Samokar, the company that designed the middle school project was on had to receive final approval of WCMS documents.
“Tonight we get to bring closure to this municipal project,” he told the board. “We appreciate the opportunity we’ve had to serve the district. We hope this building will now serve you for a long, long time.”
The board also took a few moments to honor the WCHS cross country team which placed 2nd in the Class 2A State Championship.
“I’m very proud of these boys,” said board member Tim McCormick. “I know each and everyone of them personally. They are some of the best athletes in Webster County School.”
“You become a family out there,” added coach Todd Whitsell. “Each one of them holds a special place in my heart. I’m proud of what they do, not only on the course, but in the classroom. We bring home the GPA award every year.”

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