Assets for the Concordia Parish School Board exceeded its liabilities by $72.8 million, according to an audit for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019.

Tom O’Neal, the board’s director of financial affairs, discussed the audit during the board’s regular meeting Thursday (Jan. 9).

The CPA firm of Silas Simmons LLP of Natchez is the board’s accountant.

Noted in the audit were a decrease in ad valorem taxes of $193,000 but an increase in sales tax collections of $451,000.

The School Board operates 10 schools within the parish. Total enrollment as of June 30, 2019, was 3,209.

According to the report, total net assets at June 30, 201, consisted of:

“A net investment in capital assets of $15.5 million, which consists of property and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation and the related debt.

“Net position of $7.5 million is restricted from outside sources, such as grantors, tax propositions approved by the voters, etc.

“Due to implementation of new Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) requirements, unrestricted net position reflects a negative $95.8 million for payment of continuing obligations.

“The School Board's Governmental Funds reported fund balances of $29.6 million this year, as compared to $29.1 million for the previous year.

“At the end of the current fiscal year, the General Fund had a $21 million fund balance, an increase of approximately $372 thousand over the previous year's fund balance.”

The report also notes that the “most significant changes in revenue, as compared to the previous year are: a decrease in ad valorem taxes of $193,000, a decrease in state equalization funding of $443,000, an increase in sales tax collections of $451,000, and an increase in the sale of assets/miscellaneous income of $175,000.

“Significant expenditure changes were also noted in both instructional and supportive programs. The most noted are a decrease in special education of $403,000, an increase in vocational education programs of $70,000, a decrease in school administration of $301,000, an increase in student staff services of $528,000, a decrease in plant services of $235,000, a decrease in student transportation of $44,000, and an increase in school food services of $13,000.”

The board operates the following major funds:

“General Fund - this fund is the general operating fund of the School Board and accounts for all financial resources, except those required to be accounted for in other funds.

“Sales Tax 80% Fund - this fund accounts for the monthly collection of the School Board's one percent Parish sales tax. The fund also accounts for the use of the tax as (1) salaries and expenditures directly relating to the collection process, (2) expenditures relating to retirement and group insurance programs, (3) transfers to the Sales Tax 20% Special Revenue Fund, and (4) transfers to other funds for the payment of salaries.

“Sales Tax 40% Fund - this fund accounts for the portion (40 percent) of the School Board's additional one percent Parish sales taxes to supplement other revenues available for the payment of salaries of teachers and other personnel and for providing unemployment compensation benefits, retirement, and other insurance programs.

“Title I Fund - this fund accounts for Title I funds designed to improve the teaching and learning of children who are at risk of not meeting challenging academic standards and who reside in areas of high concentrations of children from low income families. The program is federally financed, state administered, and locally operated by the School Board. The activities supplement, rather than replace, state and locally mandated activities.”

O’Neal said School Board employees are members of two statewide retirements systems.

“Although different plans,” Oneal said, “in general professional employees and school lunchroom workers are members of the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana; other employees, such as custodial personnel and bus drivers, are members of the Louisiana School Employee’s Retirement. These systems are cost sharing, multiple employer, defined benefit pension plans administered by separate Boards of Trustees.

“The Concordia Parish School contributed $4,952,519 to teachers’ retirement for the year ending June 30, 2019. The school board contributed reported liabilities of $36,418,416 for the teachers system and $2,507,012 for the school employees system for its proportionate share of the Net Pension Liability. The school board’s proportion of the Net Pension Liability was based on a projection of the board’s long-term share of contributions to the pension plan relative to the projected contributions of all participating employees, actuarially determined. At June 30, 1019, the School Board’s proportion for teachers’ system was 0.37056% and 0.375224% for the school employees’ school.

“The School Board recognized pension expenses of $2,406,826 and $194,585 for the teacher and school employee systems respectively.”

School Board members are each paid $7,800 annually.

Board President Raymond Riley was paid $8,400.

Superintendent Whest Shirley was paid $147,581, including $102,200, salary; $2,351, health insurance; $30,605, retirement; $7,200, car allowance and $5,225, ad valorem supplement.

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