Number of checks and balances in place for expense accounts

February 19, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |

To ensure adequate support for reimbursement of expenses, checks and balances are placed on expense accounts within the Washington County Public Schools system.

Two board regulations deal with personnel expense oversight, including a 20-year-old regulation about board member expenses that needs to be updated, Board of Education President Wayne Ridenour said.

The two regulations appear to have some overlap because the board expense regulation also notes procedures for approving expenses for the superintendent and deputy superintendent.

Ridenour said another board regulation, last amended in May 2009, has more accurate information regarding the approval of the superintendent's expenses. That regulation is entitled "Employee expenses."

The board president signs off on cash advances and expenses for the superintendent and for other board members, according to school system documents. The employee expenses regulation also states that the board vice president can sign off on the superintendent's expenses, something Ridenour said would be done if the president isn't available.

A board regulation, entitled "Board member expenses," adopted in November 1991, states the deputy superintendent would review the superintendent's requests for cash advances or reimbursements, but Ridenour said that regulation is out of date and must be updated.

Ridenour said the deputy superintendent isn't authorized to sign off on the superintendent's expenses.

Deputy Schools Superintendent Boyd Michael said he couldn't recall ever signing off on Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan's expenses.

The school board's Policy Committee has been trying to update policies in recent years, Ridenour said. But the task hasn't been completed because the committee has been kept busy dealing with new policies coming from the state, he said.

The November 1991 board regulation is still mostly relevant regarding approval of board members' expenses, Ridenour said.

The superintendent would sign off on any advance or payment request exceeding $1,000, according to the November 1991 regulation and Ridenour.

The 1991 regulation states the superintendent would sign off on the board president's expenses. But Ridenour said the superintendent and the board vice president would sign off on the board president's expenses.

Ridenour said he hasn't had any expenses during his tenure because he reimbursed the school system for his travel-related expenses.

The 2009 regulation regarding employee expenses states the superintendent must review and sign cash advances or payment of expenses for the deputy superintendent, the assistant superintendents, the chief financial officer, the chief legal counsel and the executive assistant.

The regulation notes that the chief financial officer or superintendent must approve any cash advance or expense reimbursement over $1,000.

The director of accounting is responsible for monitoring the employee expenses regulation, according to the regulation.

The 1991 regulation states the supervisor of accounting is responsible for monitoring the board member expenses' regulation.


On the Web

Washington County Board of Education regulations on expense approval are available under BoardDocs at

Choose the "Policies" tab. Then select "Board Procedures and Regulations."

Employee expenses are under file DLC-R and board member expenses are under file BHD-R.

Coming Monday

Continuing education opportunities, business community events and a presentation at a state education conference were among the expenses of Washington County Public Schools' top administrators during the past fiscal year.

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