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LACK OF BUDGET CHECKS MAY HAVE HURT SCHOOLS CHECKING THE BUDGET REGULARLY
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LACK OF BUDGET CHECKS MAY HAVE HURT SCHOOLS CHECKING THE BUDGET REGULARLY

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Rockingham school officials are not certain if local expenses have been checked regularly.

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Most Triad school systems check spending monthly to make sure they're within their budgets. But not Rockingham County.

Rockingham school officials, who recently found a $686,352 shortfall in their 1993-94 budget, are not sure when - or if - locally funded expenses have been reviewed since the fiscal year began July 1.Officials discovered the shortfall in early March when they began planning for the 1994-95 budget.

David Wise, named interim finance officer last week, said he has checked the state and federal portions of the budget monthly.

Wise, also the schools' internal auditor, said he and other finance employees thought that finance officer T.L. Knight - who has been absent frequently to be treated for cancer - was reviewing the local expenses. Knight was too ill Monday to answer questions about the budget, his wife said.

Rockingham could be the only Greensboro-area public school system besides Forsyth County not to check local expenses at least monthly. Forsyth schools review them quarterly.

Sharon Ozment, financial services director with the Guilford County Schools, said her system's month-end reviews let school leaders see if they need to transfer money from one fund to another to cover extra expenses.

The Rockingham County shortfall forced the school board to use almost 80 percent of its reserve fund to balance the budget.

Board members have requested monthly financial reports henceforth.

The shortfall mainly was attributable to extra utility costs and pay and benefits for about 25 positions that were accidentally omitted from the 1993-94 budget when the county's four school systems merged this past July.

____________________________________________________________________________\ SYSTEM REVIEWS

How often do Triad school systems review their budgets?

Monthly: Alamance County, Burlington city, Davidson County, Lexington city, Thomasville city, Guilford County, Randolph County, Asheboro city. Rockingham County finance officers, who recently discovered a $686,352 shortfall while preparing for next year's budget, plan to start doing monthly budget reviews at the school board's request.

Quarterly: Forsyth County

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