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RISD’s annual audit reviewed by school board

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The Roswell Independent School District’s annual audit for 2017-2018 came back with only one finding.

Chad Cole, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, said the audit was prepared and reviewed by the state auditor and CPA firm Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC (CRI). Cole highlighted that the single finding was “not a significant matter” and the district was “very pleased with the audit.” Cole introduced Alan “A.J.” D. Bowers Jr., who was the principal auditor.

Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy recommended approval of the audit. Board member James Edwards made the motion to approve, board member Mona Kirk seconded and the measure passed unanimously with votes from President Alan Gedde, Vice President Ruben Sanchez and Secretary Dr. Kathleen Pittman.

Bowers said the 160-page audit was comprised of seven pages from CRI, with the rest being the district’s reports. Bowers said CRI has conducted audits the last two years for RISD. He opened the floor for questions from the board and provided all of the district’s numbers for the last five years.

One finding was discussed in detail at an exit conference on Nov. 13, Bowers said, describing the finding as not “reportable under uniform guidance.” According to the finding section in the report, proper procedures were not in place to “review for suspended or debarred vendors for purchases between $25,000 and $60,000 using federal funds in the Title I fund.” The report stated the auditor recommended that the district write procedures at the start of every grant period. In response, RISD’s statement read that the district would have more training on the matter and will write procedures.

“But just so you know, that finding is just considered another matter,” Bowers said. “It doesn’t rise to the level of needing board policy or board action. It’s just we’re required in the state of New Mexico to report on everything that we find, so one finding is extremely clean — so hats off to the finance department.”

Bowers said there was also an audit regarding compliance for Title I funding, federal funding for high numbers of low-income students and families. This audit received an “unmodified opinion with material requirements” related to administering that program, with no other findings.

In terms of financial statement highlights, Bowers provided a one-page summary that included the district’s government-wide financial statements; general fund; and information on Sidney Gutierrez Middle School (SGMS), the district’s lone charter school. He said SGMS’ cash was consistent and showed an increase due to bond funding.

After state approval, the audit will be available on the finance page of RISD’s website.

Bowers also reviewed upcoming standard implementations and how they might affect the district. Bowers explained one standard, Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement 75, was the proportionate share of the state retiree healthcare coming down to the records of the Roswell schools. He said this was a reinstatement of $62 million on financial statements district-wide, and $498,996 for SGMS.

Some highlights listed in the report included an increase of $15 million in total assets in a five-year period.

Cole explained the upcoming school year will be the third year of CRI running the district’s audit, therefore the district must go through a request for proposals process for an auditor the following year. He clarified this is not about performance or other matters, since he called Bowers and his team “fantastic.”

Bowers thanked the board members, superintendent and RISD’s Finance Department and stated that CRI will offer a bid again to serve as auditor.

For IT (information technology) matters, Bowers encouraged the district to stay up to date on data security and to protect information about students.

No specific discussion occurred among board members other than them thanking Bowers. Kirk said she enjoyed the consistency of having Bowers back at the district and called his report “professional.”

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.