Washington County school system receives positive financial audit

October 01, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- In a week when good financial news was hard to come by, the Washington County Board of Education received some Tuesday.

An external financial audit of Washington County Public Schools reports that the "school system is in sound financial condition," said David Brandenburg, director of accounting.

Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said officials made a decision to carry over some funds because of an anticipated drop in funding from the state. The school system has about $7 million in unspent funds that are part of its undesignated surplus.

The external audit is conducted annually and reported to local, state and federal government officials. Albright Crumbacker Moul & Itell, LLP, of Hagerstown performed the audit, and subcontracted a portion of this year's work to Smith Elliott Kerns & Company, LLC.


Some highlights from the audit for the 2007 and 2008 fiscal years include:

o Total net assets increased by 26.7 percent to $187.6 million.

o Overall revenues were $306.3 million, $39.5 million more than expenses.

o The total cost of educational programs was $257.4 million, an increase of 16.1 percent over the past year.

o The net assets of business-type activities, like food service, increased by 11.3 percent. Revenues were $9.52 million, while expenses came in at $9.38 million.

o Interest income increased 14.4 percent, due to increased cash flow.

o Capital projects fund expenditures of $49.6 million included capital maintenance work on older schools, substantial construction of three new or replacement elementary schools, additional work on Mike Callas Stadium at North Hagerstown High School and initial progress on the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

State revenue also increased substantially, according to the audit. In fiscal year 2008, 53.1 percent of revenue came from the state and 37 percent came from Washington County.

"That's almost the exact opposite of what it was when I arrived here in 2001," Morgan said.

At that time, the county was providing at least half of the school system's budget. Morgan said the state increased funding in order to meet the demands of federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

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