Kids Crew faces bleak financial future

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Audit shows school system ended fiscal year with $2.2 million increase in general fund

By Linda Ireland

The LaRue County School System ended fiscal year 2009 with $9.8 million, according to an audit prepared by Stiles, Carter & Associates, P.S.C.

The cash balance reflected $2.2 million increase in the general fund, Brian Woosley, accountant for the firm, told school board members Sept. 21. The primary reason for the increase was cost control measures and not spending contingency funds.

The district improved its financial position through an increase of $1.8 million in net assets – land, improvements, buildings, vehicles and construction in process.

One program, Kids Crew, showed a loss, Woosley said. The child-care program, which is housed in the district’s central office and overseen by the Family Resource Center, lost $20,000 last fiscal year and $15,000 in fiscal year 2008.

“Kids Crew has more competition now than it ever has,” Superintendent Sam Sanders said. “I think that’s a factor.”

Woosley suggested that the salary schedules are “probably higher than the free market” as well.

Cash paid to employees was $207,000.

Kids Crew Director Sarah Hornback said three certified teachers are currently employed as instructional assistants.

“We want to be a quality center,” she said.

Current enrollment at Kids Crew is 50 children. About two-thirds of those are school-aged, enrolled before or after school and on non-school days, Hornback said.

The FRC is required by state law to provide childcare services to the county “if there is not enough space available in local facilities,” Hornback said.

The childcare fund shows $140,000 in operating revenues for 2009; federal and state grants brought in an additional $155,000. Total operating expenses were $315,579.

Sanders said the program pays for utilities and custodial services. The rate of pay has been adjusted to save Kids Crew about $10,000 annually, he said.

Hornback said the center’s fees “are already higher than what we get in subsidies.”

Teen parents who attend school and have children enrolled in Kids Crew are not required to pay for child care, Hornback said. However, the children must be picked up immediately after school and care is not provided on days school is closed.

Parents who pay for child care “have access any time the center is open,” she said.

In 2007, the program showed $64,000 in net assets; in 2009, it showed $29,000 in net assets. Woosley advised the board take a look at the program’s financial trend.

 “Enterprise activities are usually able to fund themselves,” Woosley said.

Question about food service

The food service fund had $2.45 million in net assets at the end of fiscal year 2009, an increase of $3,000 over the previous fiscal year. It had lunchroom sales of $343,000 and non-operating revenue of $915,000. Cash paid to employees was $409,000.

Board member Norbert Skees asked if it is typical (of other schools) to have so much money in a food service account. Woosley replied that it was “not typical” in other districts, but LaRue’s service is well-managed with excess funds used to buy new equipment.

Few deficiencies

Woosley pointed out a few deficiencies in district accounting. Club jackets were billed as supplies instead of clothing; a teacher failed to make a daily deposit in May; one school used activity fund money to purchase touch-up paint; and two sports booster associations did not supply documentation on the required form.

School administrators were notified of the  infractions.