BAKER — With the exception of one finding because of the 2016 flood, the Baker School District received a clean audit for its 2017-18 finances.

Matthew Margaglio, of accounting firm Kolder, Slaven & Co., told the School Board on Tuesday that the finding involved failure to pass a budget amendment for expenditures that deviate from the approved budget by more than 5 percent.

Due to extensive costs related to the 2016 flooding that rendered Baker High School unusable, the district did have such a deviation. The board approved a budget amendment in June 2018; however, it failed to correctly predict the exact cost of some of the flood-related expenses, Margaglio said at Tuesday's meeting.

"Basically, the contractor has to guess, and if you have a weeks of bad weather, your estimate will be off. If you have weeks of beautiful weather, it will be off," he said. "The budget was amended and attempts were made, but you just didn’t meet the goal. But you made a good-faith effort.”

The total revenue for the district in 2017-18 was $21.5 million and expenditures were $21.4 million. Sales tax revenue was up slightly from 2017, coming in at $3.3 million, and property tax revenue also increased slightly to $2 million. State Minimum Foundation Program revenues, which are mostly based on student enrollment, were down $300,000, with the district receiving $10.8 million in 2017-18.

The board paid Kolder, Slaven $54,980 to perform the audit as well as an additional $10,850 to report on whether the district was following its own accounting procedures, a step required by the state.

Postlethwaite & Netterville conducted the district’s audit for 2016-17 at a cost of $52,000.

The board voted Tuesday to contract with Kolder, Slaven to audit the district again in 2019 and 2020, for $67,725 per year.

The board also agreed to extend a contract with Ken Tillage Construction Co. assisting the district in securing financing for renovation and construction related to the flooding of Baker High School in 2016.

The contract extension does not involve additional fees to be paid to Tillage but allows them to work on grants and contracts on behalf of the district until June 30, school attorney Winston DeCuir said. The original contract calls for the district to pay Tillage $220,000 for the service.

In other business, the board:

  • Voted to have Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana conduct needs assessments for Bakerfield Elementary, Baker Heights Elementary and Baker Middle schools. The board will pay A+PEL $12,000 to conduct the assessment, which the federal government requires for the district to receive federal funding. The funding for the assessment will also come from the federal government. In the past, the district has been able to use assessments conducted for other purposes such as strategic planning to fulfill the requirement, Superintendent Herman Brister said.
  • Agreed to move the Baker High graduation ceremony to May 21, a change necessitated by the availability of the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
  • Heard from board member Joyce Burges, who announced a community engagement meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Baker Branch Library on Groom Road, open to all residents.