PICKENS COUNTY — The School District of Pickens County held its monthly board meeting Sept. 28 and received good budgetary news as well as recognized a couple of members of the SDPC community.
Trina Stephens of Central Elementary, recognized earlier this summer as SDPC’s Teacher of the Year, was afforded an opportunity to thank the board and committee responsible for her award, and members of the board were given an opportunity to recognize Stephens.
Also recognized during district superintendent Dr. Danny Merck’s Celebrations of Learning — an opportunity to recognize students and faculty for achievements and accomplishments — was Josh Wagner of Pickens High School.
Wagner, also a student with the Pickens County Career and Technology Center, won first place at a Prepared Speaking event hosted by Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) in Anaheim, Calif., this summer. As part of Merck’s Celebrations of Learning, Wagner recited his speech for those in attendance and was recognized by the board for his efforts.
On the business side of the agenda, the most pressing item on SDPC’s agenda was the annual audit performed by Greene, Finney, and Horton, CPAs.
As part of the audit SDPC received the highest rating possible, receiving a mark of “unmodified opinion,” which is the equivalent of all clear. The agency operates in this function as an independent third party performs audits for 18 school districts across South Carolina.
“Receiving an ‘unmodified opinion’ is about as well as the audit can go for any school district,” SDPC Public Information Specialist John Eby said. “That’s the highest ranking the district can receive and says a lot about how our finances are handled. But, that was only part of the good news that came out of the audit.”
The second piece of good news received was an unexpected budget surplus within SDPC’s fund balance.
“The fund balance was higher than we anticipated with the figure sitting at $21.8 million based on the audit, or about 19.8 percent of budget expenditures,” Eby explained. “Generally the board wants to keep that figure at around 16 percent minimum, normally in the area of 17 percent, which means there’s an excess of 2.2 percent, if you figure in the step increase instead of what would appear to be 19.8 percent as the step increase makes up that .6 percent.”
What happens to the excess funds?
“The board can make any number of decisions as to what to do with the excess funding, which in and of itself is great news,” Eby said. “The money can be used in any number of ways, as part of capital improvements, pay increases for employees, paying down debt, or keeping the extra revenue in reserve. That will be something the board will be discussing moving forward.”
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.