School Board Opposes Central Financial System

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The Cannon County Board Of Education met for their regular monthly meeting. All members of the board were present except for Shannon Davenport.

Barbara Parker, Cannon County Director of Schools recognized the recent county spelling bee winners. Lauren Underwood a 5th grader from East SideSchool finished first and Bailey Nemeth an 8th grader from Woodland School took second place.

The Board approved the consent agenda which consisted of the approval of the Ricoh Aficio Copy machine lease for the East Side School, the textbook recommendations by the textbook adoptions committee were approved. The staff development committee was approved as was the approval of the 2012 Jr. Lions football schedule.

Eastside Prinicipal Karen King addressed the Board about some summer projects she is wanting to do forEast SideSchool. The wish list included an awning that would be for rain dismissal, paving the track, a new entry awning and changing the front landscaping. King requested the School Board appropriate $2,000 toward the paving project.

Chairman Randy Gannon said that he would rather see the $2,000 go toward the awnings and made the motion to do so. Chris Blackburn seconded the motion and the motion passed.

The Board gave the approval for King to seek a grant in the amount of $5,000 from General Mills to be used for paving the track at the School.

The approval of the architecture firm Smee-Busby and survey proposal for the Ag Pavillion project at Cannon County High School was tabled until the May meeting.

The Board approved the removal of the glass basketball backboards at the Veterans Memorial Gym. The boards will replace the side basketball goals wooden backboards at the high school. Those wooden backboards will then be placed on the basketball goals at the Veterans Gym. This project will be done at no costs to the system.

Jason Campbell from TVA introduced the Board to the TVA Demand Response Program. The school can earn some extra revenue by curtailing air conditioning for up to 40 hours per year. The average hours over the last three years statewide is 22 hours. Essentially it's an on-demand curtailment. Most of the hours that the program runs is after school hours.

In order to qualify for the program it has to be a fairly large school that has enough energy consumption to curtail without having adverse effects. Cannon County High School and Woodbury Grammar School were the two that qualified. The program is an emergency type program that works off of peak hours The normal peaks are from 2-6 in the afternoon some peaks will start earlier however. Once these peak hours are established under the emergency program the two schools will cut back on energy which means areas of the particular schools will turn up the air conditioner to conserve energy. The system is optional and schools can opt to participate at the they are called upon.

The schools will be able to monitor their participation as well as have the ability to see where in the schools the most energy is being used. The agreement is on a three year basis and was approved by the board. Board member Mike Mayfield voted not to approve the motion.

The Board gave the approval of bonuses for qualified non-certified employees. Under the bonus plan, all of the qualified non certified employees will receive a $200 bonus. The total expense will be $17,580.00. Federal Expenses into this would make the total $27,893.60

Director of Schools Barbara Parker said this month the system had to decide on the evaluation model for teachers. It was decided to stay with the Team Model that the State of Tennessee also uses.

Cannon County Schools received an energy grant allocation of $48,000 from the State Education Department about a year ago. May 1st is the deadline for school systems to claim their money. The project that the money will go toward is the HVAC system at Woodbury Grammar.

Parker stated that she'd like to get started on another project which is the high school HVAC project in the gym. Parker wanted to use Smee-Busby as the architect for the project. The Board gave approval.

To close out the meeting the Board of Education made a unanimous statement that they were against the school's participation in the possible Centralized Accounting System that the County is looking to adopt.

The next meeting will be Thursday, May 10th at Woodbury Grammar School.

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April 13, 2012 at 11:29am
Well naturally the school system would oppose the Centralized Accounting System because it would take away the money power they currently have.

What should have been said is they are against a private act enacted by the county commissioners concerning a centralized accounting system because that does not give them the option of opting out.

It is funny how in one article we are told that the elected officials should get all of the information about a centralized accounting system before judgement is made and then the next article has another group of elected officials making a unanimous statement they are against it before all of the information has been determined.

I guess it just depends on which group or which elected official is doing the talking and who stands to lose the most control.
April 13, 2012 at 12:58pm
Agreed. I personally support a private act if this is to be enacted. If branches can opt out of the Centralized Accounting System, then what is the point? IF enacted, then ALL programs / entities that receive money or are otherwise controlled by the government should be subject to the system or risk losing funding all together.
April 13, 2012 at 4:43pm
I would ask the ones that are for the centralized accounting system, do you have any idea how the school financial system works? Do you know what it actually takes to run a school system? Before everyone jumps up and agrees to a centralized system, they need to learn how the current system works. I asked once, I will ask again. How many findings did the county get on their last audit? Do you know? How many findings did the school system get? The school system got none. Did the county audit fair as well? No, they did not. Before the county takes on any more "overseeing" and budgeting for other entities, they need to clean up their own house first. When they have no findings on the audit, as the schools do,then they might be able to take on something else.
April 13, 2012 at 5:00pm
The reason for having a centralized system should not be based on audit findings or non-findings. The two determining factors should be cost vs. benefit (including any savings), and whether it is a more effective and efficient way of conducting the county's business.
April 13, 2012 at 7:00pm
I will ask one more time. Do you understand how the finance system works in the school system?
April 13, 2012 at 7:13pm
I know enough about what it takes to actually run a school system to know that there has to be a reason behind a unanimous decision to not want it before the facts even come out.

And I don't think it is because they received no audit findings. I think it is as I suggested, that it would take away the money power they currently have.

I would also say the county government as a whole is a lot bigger than the school system and with a lot more people doing things a lot of different ways which in turn could cause more audit findings. Hence one of the primary reasons for the need of a centralized accounting system in my opinion.

I would also suggest that the statement "Parker wanted to use Smee-Busby as the architect for the project. The Board gave approval" as described in the article above as another reason it is needed.

How was that determined? Was there a bid process? If so, how was the bid process conducted and was it conducted using the same process that everyone else in county government who handles taxpayer dollars conducts their bid process? If not, then why not?

Too many different ways of doing too many different things cause too many different results and has probably cost us millions of wasted tax dollars over the years.

Kevin we can both 100% agree on your statement. Base it on the facts and if proven not to be justified then I will be the first to say we don't need it.
April 13, 2012 at 7:30pm
Not sure what you mean by how it works, or why that is important. I have not questioned its accuracy or efficiency. However, the State Comptroller has questioned its efficiency, as he has called for all county governments in the state to have a centralized system of accounting, budgeting and purchasing. If that is reasonably considered to be a fact and not an opinion, there should be compelling reasons to do otherwise.
April 14, 2012 at 12:24am
Should Cannon County move to adopt a centralized budgeting system, there should be no opting out by any of the county departments. Any efficiencies gained would then be lost and such an effort would be futile. All or none.
April 14, 2012 at 7:58am
Being part of a centralized financial system at one time, I, too, know something about what I am talking about. The inefficiencies run amuck in a centralized system. You spend a lot of time waiting on something to be approved, that you need now. A lot of politics within a system, such as this. In a small community like this, believe me, it WILL happen. I have seen it before.
April 14, 2012 at 9:21am
ladyreader I think what you describe happens now.

Politics exist very much in our current system.

If you don't believe me then attend one of the Commissioners meetings and listen to how long it takes to do something as simple as buy a fire truck for a community that needs one.

Then listen to something as simple as trying to get a better bond rating when everyone knows that will improve your interest rates when you go to buy money.

Then listen to Commissioners who say I am not going to vote to buy this unless I get your vote to approve what I want.

Nothing we get will be perfect, but we cannot continue to govern ourselves by holding one thing hostage in order to get something else.

I don't know if a centralized accounting system would be the best thing since sliced loaf bread, but I do know people who are a lot smarter than me are promoting it as something we need.

There is nothing that says if it don't work that we can't go back to the way it is now that I know of so is it impossible to think we should not try?
April 14, 2012 at 8:14pm
Kevin, Thanks for adding additional reports concerning this issue. It is good to see what the different elements of county government are thinking.
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