OCS Board Receives Solid Financial Report, Approves Budget Amendment

John Boles delivers Opelika City Schools' 2022 audit to start off the board meeting on Tuesday, March 28.



The Opelika City Schools Board’s March meeting consisted of a positive 2022 audit report and the approval of the year’s first budget amendment.

Although monthly expenses have spiked due to the capital fund project of building Fox Run Elementary School, John Boles, accounting partner with Himmelright, Huguley and Boles, assessed that the board has seemed to handle its financial situation well. 

“This was a very good audit,” he said.   “The Opelika School system is financially healthy. One thing I will say is the school board seems to have quite a bit of cash on hand, and interest rates have increased significantly. But before I could even tell [Chief Financial Officer Chris Harrison], ‘Hey, I see other municipalities and governments getting good rates,’ he had already taken care of that. So, you guys are managing your money very well.”

After the audit report and the brief approval of board personnel recommendations, Harrison presented this year’s premier budget amendment, which he explained as a routine development that happens yearly.

The amendment has three parts: adjusting beginning equity balances, additional funds from the state and federal level and carryover programs. Harrison explained that those adjustments are made when looking into the first several months of the year, and further amendments will be brought up around June.

“We’re increasing revenues from the original budget to this amendment by 3.2%,” Harrison said. “The expenditures, actually, we’re decreasing that from the original budget by 6.6%.”

Taking into account the school system’s special projects, debt and capital projects, such as the building of Fox Run Elementary and past renovation projects on the high school, total revenue is up from last year. However, Harrison explained that those numbers aren’t likely to stick.

“[Total revenue] can really fluctuate from year to year,” he explained. “We’ve got a lot of extra capital projects on the way, so that number can really spike up in a year and come down in another year.”

Harrison went on to explain how the audit will help the board move forward financially.

“The main reason why we’re doing this amendment is it adjusts our fund equity balances,” he said. “Now that we have completed the year, and it’s been audited and approved by the state, we know what those ending equity balances were from the prior year. Now, we’re able to adjust those.” 

With a positive monthly financial report, the board’s next meeting is set for April 25, where it plans to discuss the monthly child nutrition report. 


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