Audit shows Berkeley school district on sound financial footing

(MONCKS CORNER)- The Berkeley County School District (BCSD) has again received the highest financial opinion following its annual independent review of its fiscal practices. The superior findings, known as an “unmodified audit” in accounting terms, indicate the district’s sound financial position and acknowledge the appropriate monetary practices in place to maintain these standards.

Audit results were announced at the regular Board meeting on January 10 by representatives from the certified public accounting firm of Greene, Finney, and Horton, LLC, the independent agency which conducted the audit. The findings were made using financial information from the 2016 fiscal year ending on June 30, 2016. The report highlighted the school system’s effective internal controls, financial statements, and its preparation and managing of the budget.

“For at least the last 24 years, the Berkeley County School District has received the highest financial opinions from independent auditors. By any standard, this is an incredible achievement,” said Superintendent Brenda Blackburn. “We take our responsibility to properly manage our budgets seriously because we know that every dollar we save is another dollar we can invest in our number one priority- our students.”

The audit reported that annual fund revenues from all sources in 2016 for BCSD totaled $363.1 million. The report noted that the district maintains an adequate fund balance for emergencies, discretionary funding needs, and for covering potential budgetary shortfalls from the state. A healthy fund balance is a significant factor in securing more favorable interest rates when borrowing money.

In 2016, BCSD received $8,815 per student in operational revenue. In comparison, Charleston County received $11,404 per student, Dorchester District 4 received $13,238, and Beaufort County received $10,555. District expenditures totaled $441.5 million. Auditors explained the higher figures are primarily due to receiving bond funds in prior years for capital projects (i.e. construction) and then spending those down in the current year.

“With expenditures approaching half a billion dollars, the Berkeley County School District is unquestionably an enormous economic engine in this region, which impacts every taxpayer whether they have children in schools or not,” said Mr. Brantley Thomas, Chief Financial Officer for BCSD. “Our ability to maintain sound financial stewardship of these funds is essential. The results of this independent audit reaffirms not only our ability- but also our commitment- to do just that.”