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Overton County Audit Shows Serious Issues In School District

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Overton County Audit Shows Serious Issues In School District

A Tennessee Comptroller’s Office audit of Overton County “shows serious problems” citing the school system on 10 findings.

Communications Director John Dunn said the growth from two to 10 findings over the past year causes concern.

“We really encourage Overton County to consider the idea of having a centralized finance office that again would cover the activities of the county, the highway office and the schools,” Dunn said. “By having that centralized system, they will be able to vastly improve we believe their fiscal responsibility.”

Findings of the school system included inaccurate financial statements, accounting deficiencies, expenditures exceeding budgeted appropriations, an improperly issued loan and a laptop and several flash drives missing from the central office.

A significant deficiency was found for compensatory time paid without proper documentation. According to the report, Former School Budget Director Heather Melton received over $19,000 with little support qualifying the pay.

The report shared two examples. Melton appeared to claim compensatory time while also receiving scheduled pay during regular work days through school closures caused by weather or COVID. $1,745 was paid for attending board of education meetings and acting as board secretary.

$997.25 was the only supported compensatory pay documented by Melton through an email. The Comptroller’s Office recommends the development of new policies and procedures to adequately support payroll, disbursements and accumulated compensatory time.

The school’s general purpose fund also required audit adjustments of $1,057,425. According to the report, material audit adjustments were required because the department’s financial reporting system did not prevent, detect or correct potential misstatements in the accounting records.

Multiple budget deficiencies were sited in the report. Eight appropriations approved by the county commission exceeded budgeted amounts.

Salaries exceeded appropriations in 20 of 85 salary line-items in the General Purpose School Fund and one of 37 salary line-items of the School Federal Projects Fund by amounts ranging from $45 to $40,242.

Another finding was sited for an interfund loan issued without county commission approval. The school department transferred $87,000 from the General Purpose
School Fund to the Central Cafeteria Fund to provide cash flow for operations.

The material on the missing laptop and hard drives could not be identified by school employees. The report said, “the risk related to this loss of information is uncertain.”

Dunn said the school system has submitted a plan of action to address the findings that would later be evaluated once implemented.

The report also sited two findings in the Overton County Clerk’s Office for late deposits and not meeting Government Auditing Standards. The Comptroller’s Division of Investigations is currently reviewing certain operations of the County Clerk’s Office as a result to the noncompliance.


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