Altamont Unit 10 discusses audit, tax levy

·5 min read

Oct. 16—Members of the Altamont Unit 10 Board of Education received an annual audit report this week and discussed the estimated tax levy.

Bo Thomas representing Glass & Shuffett, Ltd presented the audit report to the board. He said since the school received a large amount of funds from state and Federal resources the school district was subject to a high standard of audit.

"When the district expends over $750,000 in Federal grant dollars the school district is subject to a third audit," Thomas said.

He said the audit documents had four basic reports a balance sheet including account groups for long-term debt and capital assets, a detailed income statement, statement of revenues and statement of expenditures.

He said the unmodified opinion of the audit said they agreed with the financial information provided by the district. He said included in the audit is a report on compliance and internal control.

"We didn't denote any material weakness or significant deficiencies in the journal control or compliance," he said. "The district has a lot to be proud of with their financial reporting and their controls over compliance."

Thomas said in the district's financial profile summary the state picks out five different financial ratios and assigns a score to them from one being the lowest to four being the highest.

"The district's score overall was a 3.7 and that's good for the (Illinois State Board of Education) recognition status which is the highest status the district can get," Thomas said.

He said the school district's number of days of cash-on-hand increased over the previous year.

"The district needs to get to that 180 days to get to a four," Thomas said.

He said the auditors had no problems with receiving information requested for the audit from the school district.

"We are trying to work towards the goal of 180 days of cash on hand," Board President Dale Laue said.

Altamont Superintendent of Schools Casey Adam said this year's proposed tax levy of six percent. She said this year since the school district is asking for over five percent a required public hearing is necessary called a truth in taxation hearing.

"By increasing the levy we will be able to capture all of the funds we have available," Adam said. "It doesn't raise anyone's taxes it just gives us a piece of the pie we are able to get our hands on."

"We want to go a little bit high to make sure we capture all new property additions to our district," Laue said.

Adam said there is a certain percent of money people are taxed on the value of their property. She said they pay that tax to the county and the county gives a percentage to the school district.

"We just have to establish the percentage we ask for," Adam said.

In another discussion, Adam suggested changing website companies to improve the school districts website.

"Apptegy is a company at the forefront of school websites. It is extremely user friendly," Adam said. "It's a very clean and streamline look for a website. It can also be used as a school messenger service as well."

She said the cost is a little bit more expensive than what they are spending now. Adam said for the additional cost the service is better.

"They base their pricing based upon student enrollment," she said.

Adam said they are currently spending $5,000 a year for their website and if they went with the Apptegy website and mobile application platform would cost the district $7,900 a year. She said the initial set-up cost would be $6,500 to customize the website and app for the district.

"This is something we don't have to do right now if we want to take the time and think about it for awhile," she said.

"Who is going to have the ownership of putting the information on the website?" Board Secretary Alan Kollmann asked.

Adam said the platform is more user friendly than their current website. She said teachers could use it to distribute information to the website and social media after the approval of an administrator to make sure it is appropriate.

"It shares information out to the live stream, it goes to Facebook and Twitter all at one click of the button," she said. "It's really a great way to reach people very quickly. It gives teachers more of a hand in creating content for the website. We talk about wanting to share all of the great things that are happening in the district. This is the single best tool to do that."

"That is what we were told three years ago on the website we currently have," Kollmann said. "We went from something that was terrible and we didn't go to anything that was any better."

"Can anybody put something on the website?" Board Member Martin Reyes asked.

"No, right now everything typically goes through Lori Grimsley," Adam said.

She said if the board goes with the new website everything on the website would automatically be updated on the app in addition to a more powerful search engine for information.

Adam said currently teachers have to email the information to someone if they would like to share information on the sight.

"This would be a powerful tool to keep people informed up to the moment," she said. "Ultimately, this would this provides us with a shared responsibility and does become all one person's burden."

Charles Mills can be reached at charles.mills@effinghamdailynews.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.

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