by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
The finances of the Bertie County Public Schools (BCS) are a mess, mostly due to incompetence, staff turnover, and related institutional issues. The State Board of Education will discuss the matter on Thursday.
According to N.C. Department of Public Instruction staff, “Based on the 2016-17 audit financial statements for BCS, the system’s financial situation improved since the 2016 audit but continues to exhibit significant signs of financial distress.” Some of the problems identified by NC DPI include,
2016 KEY FINANCIAL ISSUES
• General Fund Balance Deficit of $704,995
• Special Restricted Fund Balance Deficit of $135,078
• Negative Net Position of $45,992
• Expenditures in Excess of Revenues by $1,332,614
Overpayments and/or unrealized income issues totaling more than $1,000,000
• $339,000 in outstanding checks to Bertie LEA not deposited
• $250,000 in payments to Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) more than related withholding and employer matching amounts
• $200,000 (approximate) in unrealized collection of indirect costs for federally funded programs
• $180,000 reversion of unexpended State allotments
• $60,000 in unutilized State position allotments
• $55,067 net overpayments to employees related to outstanding salary exceptions
o $71,648 in overpayments of employees with State funds
o $16,580.62 in underpayments employees
• $833.36 overpayment for contracted services in excess of agreement.
• Unrealized income due to failure to request NC Sales Tax refunds as allowed by State law for the 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 fiscal years.
It goes without saying that a charter school in a similar predicament would have been closed by now.