Principals oppose centralized bookkeeping

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(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following information is being published in the April 24, 2018 edition of the Cannon Courier as a paid advertisement.)

Your Vote: How Centralized Accounting Impacts Schools

Please consider all sides before voting for the "county financial management system" (centralized bookkeeping) referendum on the current ballot. Cannon County Schools' Central Office personnel work very closely to expend their funds properly. The Cannon County Board of Education had ZERO audit findings for school year 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017 which exhibits a long history of reliable accounting (2017-18 audit is not yet available).

We believe a county financial management system could be bad for Cannon County Schools in the following ways:

• It takes responsibility away from the Board of Education that was elected to oversee financial management and who is accountable to the State and Federal governments for appropriate use.

• It removes the school finance department away from the central office environment, thus making school finances intertwined with almost every other department.

• School system personnel need a day-to-day tally on how much money they have to spend. In the case of a grant or Federal Programs, you lose the money in the next year's allocation if you don't spend it or if it is not spent properly.

• The logistics of getting PO's written, signed, and delivered could be a big problem.

• There could be additional costs for space, computer support, computer hardware and software, phones, fax, high-speed internet, accounting software and all the support and maintenance fees associated with it, a Director of Finance, clerks, and possibly a secretary and matching benefits for personnel which could result in a tax increase.

• Creating an office for centralized bookkeeping could increase the expenditures of the county commission, where funds are short, and the Maintenance of Effort requirements to the Board of Education would not be reduced.

• At the school level, the cost could greatly impact the day to day instruction of students. If the county commission wanted to shift school employee health insurance under the county employee umbrella, teachers' out of pocket and monthly premium costs could skyrocket and their coverage reduce, resulting in teachers traveling out of county to teach where they can earn more and enjoy lower health premiums.

We believe that if centralized bookkeeping was worth the effort and money, more counties would adopt it. However, the majority of county's do not use centralized bookkeeping. We realize that the county commission is elected to do what is in the best interest of Cannon County and to advocate for county-wide issues. It is our hope that readers will see this ad as our effort to advocate for Cannon County Schools, and we respectfully ask readers to consider a "no" or "against" vote on the "county financial management system" referendum on the current ballot.

This ad paid for by Connie Foster, Karen King, Rick Meacham, Melinda Crook, Angela Cossey, Courtney Nichols, Marcia Melton, Karen Cook, and concerned employees.

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