Audit Finds Covington Schools' Finances in Good Shape & Other CIPS Notes

Covington Independent Public School "bucks the trend" when it comes to school district finances, according to George Sparks of Bertke, Sparks, & Kremer, Inc., the independent auditor that reviewed CIPS's finances. The accounting firm audits ten school districts and Sparks highlighted Covington schools as being fiscally stable and responsible. The firm audited the governmental activities of the district as well as its business activities and bank accounts as they stood on June 30, the end of the previous fiscal year. 

According to the district, highlights of the audit include:

  • management strategies to reduce costs in the district
  • district trains and educates the board of education and the site-based decision-making councils on budget matters
  • the district maintains a healthy contingency fund
  • the district continues to look for ways to invest its money until needed, such as through opening a Certificate of Deposit last year which earned more interest for the schools 
  • Enrollment over the past three years has increased, ending seventeen years of decline, which offers more stability for budgetary purposes
  • The district administered $1.3 million in federal, state, and local grants
  • The average teacher's salary was $46,185

Revenues exceeded expenses last year by $6.6 million, a $2.4 million increase over the previous year. "That's significant and a trend I don't see in a lot of districts," Sparks said. Sparks also applauded the district's food service operation for "not being a drain on the system" for having net revenues of $146,000. "They've had a good year of just watching expenses," Sparks added. Day care services, on the other hand, do run at a loss. 

"You can't look at this day care as opposed to a for-profit day care," Sparks said. "You're trying to keep people in school where outside they're trying to turn a profit. The bigger piece of your mission is to keep people in school. If you're running a general fund at a profit, it's not a problem to run a deficit in the day care."

Additional notes from Thursday's meeting of the Covington Board of Education:

-District attendance has been solid so far this year. Here are the average daily attendance percentages for each school from highest to lowest: Latonia Elementary 96.46%, John G. Carlisle Elementary 96.14%, Holmes Middle School 95.99%, Glenn O. Swing Elementary 95.73%, Sixth District Elementary 95.6%, Ninth District 94.84%, Holmes High School 92.65%, Alternative High School 87.48%.

-The board unanimously approved the pursuit of 21st Century Learning Grants. Here is the description on how the money would be used:

Ninth District Elementary, in partnership with Covington Partners, will write an expansion grant in the amount of $75,000 for years one, two and three, $67,5000 for year four and $60,00 for year five. This will allow the after school program to serve Kindergarten - 2nd grade students and additional 3rd-5th grade students. The program will offer academic assistance and youth development activities as identified by the school and community. These after school services will also be an identified strategy within the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan. 

John G. Carlisle Elementary, in partnership with OASIS, will write a continuation grant in the amount of $75,000 for years one, two and three, $67,5000 for year four and $60,00 for year five. The program will offer academic assistance and youth development activities as identified by the school and community. These after school services will also be an identified strategy within the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan. 

Sixth District Elementary, in partnership with Covington Partners, will write a new application in the amount of $150,000 in years one, two and three, $112,500 in year four, and $75,000 in year five. This funding will allow the school to hire one full time community learning center coordinator who will plan, develop and implement programming that meets the academic and social needs of the school and the community. Programming will include academic assistance and youth development activities. These services will be an identified strategy within the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan.

Glenn O. Swing Elementary, in partnership with Covington Partners, will write a new application in the amount of $150,000 in years one, two and three, $112,500 in year four, and $75,000 in year five. This funding will allow the school to hire one full time community learning center coordinator who will plan, develop and implement programming that meets the academic and social needs of the school and the community. Programming will include academic assistance and youth development activities. These services will be an identified strategy within the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan.

Latonia Elementary, in partnership with Covington Partners, will write a new application in the amount of $150,000 in years one, two and three, $112,500 in year four, and $75,000 in year five. This funding will allow the school to hire one full time community learning center coordinator who will plan, develop and implement programming that meets the academic and social needs of the school and the community. Programming will include academic assistance and youth development activities. These services will be an identified strategy within the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan.

-Holmes Middle School, after a lengthy effort according to the principal, finally established a student council. Cole Granger was elected president.

PHOTO: Board Chair Glenda Huff (L), Superintendent Lynda Jackson, Board members Julie Geisen Scheper and Jerry Avery/RCN