Cape School Board amends district budget

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Responding to problems highlighted in an audit, the Cape Girardeau School Board approved amendments to the district's current budget Monday.

The amendments show an increase of $5.9 million in revenue from a bond refinancing, in addition to increases in revenue from grants. Amendments were also made to reflect current operating expenses, which have increased as utility and transportation costs have risen.

The district is attempting to be more active in keeping an accurate view of current finances, responding to concerns highlighted in a fall audit. The audit found several major problems, mostly related to bookkeeping. In several cases, payments were made but not recorded or funds were not transferred properly, the audit revealed.

"We're ensuring the budget is getting amended so we can follow the guidelines from the state," said Misty Clifton, the director of finance.

On Monday, the board also discussed a policy related to elementary attendance areas. The policy says students must attend the elementary school in their attendance zone, but a principal or superintendent is allowed to grant exceptions.

Principals and the superintendent have mostly been allowing students who move to another attendance zone in the district to stay at their original school to reduce problems associated with transience.

Because there is no official documentation about intradistrict transfers permitted and no set procedure for determining if one will be granted, some board members said there is confusion.

"There is a lot of gray area as to when this can be applied," said board president Kyle McDonald. "We need to define when a student can remain in school or when they need to move to a different school."

Interim superintendent Pat Fanger said she would help form a committee to study the issue. Principals, incoming superintendent Dr. Jim Welker, McDonald, board member Dr. Steve Trautwein and Fanger will serve on the committee.

335-6611, extension 123

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