Cleburne ISD Superintendent Tim Miller said he was thankful for a financially sound district after hearing Don Richardson’s 2011-12 district audit report at Monday’s board meeting.
Richardson, of Fort Worth-based Kirk, Richardson and Poole, P.C., said that there were no audit findings to report and that CISD continued to be on the right track.
“You and other school districts are having to deal with the cutbacks on school funding and the decline in property values,” Richardson said. “Your district has done good. One of the things we look at is fund balance; the [Texas Education Agency] recommends two-to-three months in the fund balance, and you have that.
According to the audit, as the district completed the year on Aug. 31, there was $19.9 million in the combined fund balance, $2.8 million more than last year’s total of about $16 million.
Chief Financial Officer David Johnson said the $2.8 million, while impressive, does not fully offset state funding cuts. How much the district will be cut in the next biennium remains to be seen.
“Your audit reflects the quality of the people and you have good people,” Richardson said. “I’m not showing favoritism because we have some we can’t say that about.”
Jokes aside, CISD officials said they were pleased with the outcome.
Trustee Stu Madison said it had been several long years of working to return trust within CISD’s taxpaying community. The 2008 investigation into spending malfeasance left a dark cloud over the district, he said.
“For the second year, we’ve fixed that mess,” he said. “I think that is a great testament to the character and absolutely our administration, particularly Dr. Miller and Mr. Johnson. We are financially accountable, transparent and gaining back taxpayer trust.”
Johnson took the CFO reins at the end of 2008 with the goal of putting the school finances back on track, At the time, the district was considered “high risk” on its audit. It is now considered low risk, as mirrored in the report.
“I just want to say that for myself, I am very proud of the work our finance department and CFO in particular, as well as all of our budget managers, teachers and principals have done in taking care of taxpayer dollars,” Miller said.