Category Archives: Finances

FY2020 – Tentative Budget

After numerous calls from the vice chair for a motion, the board reluctantly passed the DeKalb Schools FY2020 tentative budget. CFO Michael Bell and Interim Chief Human Capital Management Officer, Linda Woodard, also responded to some follow up budget questions from last week. Let’s go through the good, the bad and the ugly.

6/10/2019 – DETAILED Budget (2,300 pages)
6/10/2019 – Approved Tentative Budget
5/6/2019 – Budget

June 4, 2019 – $3,000 Raise – Q&A With The CFO
May 25, 2019 – $3,000 – Teacher Raises – Metro Atlanta
May 11, 2019 – FY2020 – Budget – No Raise For Teachers

We started this year (FY2018) with a fund balance of $122 million. As we close out the end of the year, it looks like we will dip into our reserves for $10 million and start next year with $112 million.

The board was hesitant to pass the tentative budget which is anticipated to draw down reserves another $28 million … up from a projected $14 million in in May.

DeKalb Schools is projected to draw reserves down to $84 million by the end of FY2020.

FY2020 State QBE funds are $22 million more than last year. However, Dekalb Schools FTE numbers have gone from 100,648 to 99,837 which accounts for a large drop in QBE funding.

Using the old QBE formula, state revenues would be roughly $487 million. The Governor/Legislature bumped up QBE giving the school district roughly $28 million to $35 million that it wouldn’t have otherwise had.

The administration is requesting that we use $28 million for a $3,000 supplemental raise for certified staff as requested by the governor and legislated in HB 31.

An additional $12 million will be appropriated to fully fund a full year of the certified staff salary adjustments made last January.

It is anticipated that $5 million will be needed to fund the classified staff salary adjustments coming out later this month.

Linda Woodard

Linda Woodard
Interim Chief Human Capital Management Officer

DeKalb Schools CFO Michael Bell

Dr. Michael Bell
Dekalb Schools Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Q: Are Speech and Language Pathologists included in HB31 that the state intended raises for?

Linda Woodard: No. However, Speech and Language Pathologists are on Certified Schedule Z with Counselors and have been budgeted to receive the increase (From HCM).

Q: What is meant by “earned” employee regarding the state funding?

Linda Woodard: “Earned” employees are those that are fully certified by the state’s Professional Standards Commission

Michael Bell: Our students actually earn FTE. The State pays the value of the FTE in the category reported, Xs the total number FTEs impacting QBE payments.

Q: How many certified teachers do we have on the teacher salary schedules? How many of them are “earned certified teachers”?

Linda Woodard & Michael Bell: There are 6,673 Teachers on Schedule E as of March 2019. The number considered earned is 6,095 (recommendation is to visit QBE in Finance (DoE Website) for exact earnings). *7,291 total employees on the E Schedule.

Q: Can you tell me more about non earned certified teachers on the teacher salary schedule? I don’t understand why we have them, how they are used or from what funds they are paid from.

Linda Woodard: Non-earned certified teachers are those that are working towards certification and have enough certification credentials that is allowed by the state. They are typically fully certified within 3 years depending on their specific cases

Michael Bell: Non QBE earned certified teachers operate within certain District programs that are FTE funded back at the Home School. The specific staff at the following programs are therefore locally funded:

Science Centers
International Student Centers
Technology Centers
Other Full Site Programs and Programs located within Schools

Some programs have secondary funding sources such as State/Federal or private grants – which usually do not cover the full costs.

Q: How many employees total are on teacher salary schedules?

Linda Woodard: 7,291 employees on E Salary Schedule What types of employees are not certified teachers that are on the teacher salary schedules?

Behavior Interventionist
Interpreter for the Deaf
Nurse, School (Special Ed)
Nurse, School Coordinating
Spec. II, Stud Supp (non-cert)
Specialist, Instructional FSC

Q: What schedules are psychologists, counselors, social workers, special education specialists and speech/language pathologists on?

Linda Woodard: Schedule Z (currently 1% higher than teacher rate) for Audiologist, Diagnostician, Liaison, Special Ed Behavior, Counselor, Psychologist, Social Worker, Teacher, Speech/Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist and Physical Therapist. Schedule LT for Lead Teacher Special Education

Q: What other types of employees are on the schedules with psychologists, counselors, social workers, special education specialists and speech/language pathologists?

Linda Woodard: Audiologist, Diagnostician, Liaison, Special Ed Behavior, Teacher, Occupational Therapy and Teacher, Physical Therapy

HR and Financial Disarray – Report From State Audit

The Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts recently completed their audit of DeKalb Schools financial statements for the school year ending June 30, 2017. On Monday the board will be discussing the audit. While the audit itself is disappointing, the letter to management is nothing short of alarming.

The state audit reviews the required Annual Financial Statement for the school district. Additionally, the audit includes a review of controls over financial reporting, determines the ability of the system to detect or prevent fraud, and tests various processes and documentation for accuracy.

The first disturbing fact is that the school district did not meet the statutory deadline for submitting all documents to the state for audit. The deadline was December 31, 2017. The school district did not submit all the required documents until September 29, 2018.

Other facts gleaned from the audit include: (1) material weakness and significant deficiencies were identified with the review of the school district’s financial statements; (2) controls provide very low assurances that fraud can be detected or prevented; (2) the district had to make a number of adjustments and reclassifications because of mistakes or inaccuracies in the preparations of the annual statements; (3) sample testing of physical assets discovered these assets to be missing or nonexistent; and (4) sample testing of Human Resource files found missing and inaccurate employee files that included incorrect compensation.

Is this normal? I’m proud to say that Commissioner Nancy Jester has been chair of the Finance, Audit and Budget (FAB) committee at DeKalb County (not the school district) for the last couple years. For the first time in six years, DeKalb County’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report was delivered on time and without material weaknesses. Additionally, the county also eliminated five areas of deficiency from findings documented in the fiscal year 2016 audit.

 Letter To DeKalb Schools Management


In the normal course of the audit process, the auditor is required to obtain an understanding of DeKalb Schools and its environment. In addition to the Auditor’s Financial Report with control deficiencies and material weaknesses, the auditor met with management and discussed additional observances listed in the  Letter To Management.

Side Note: Given the magnitude of these observations, I’m disappointed that the state auditor noted in this letter

“This communication is intended solely for the information and use of management, those charged with governance, others within the organization and Georgia Department of Education and is not intended to be and should not be used by anyone other than these specified parties.”

Observation – Employee Compensation
• The salary paid to some employees did not match their contract.
• Some employees received retroactive salary payment that was not reported on the salary and travel
data reported to the Department of Audits and Accounts.
• No salary scale or documentation for the salary rate paid could be provided for some employees.
• No documentation of extra pay could be provided for some employees.
• A variance existed in the auditor’s salary recalculation for some employees and no documentation
of explanation could be provided.
• An I-9, driver’s license, or Social Security Number card could not be provided for some employees.

Observation – Bank Reconciliation – Cash Maintenance
• The School District has a lack of controls surrounding the bank reconciliation process over the central office bank accounts. Specifically, the controls and procedures surrounding preparing reconciliations timely and ensuring the preparer and approver date and sign off on each reconciliation.
• Reconciling items dating back to 2010 remain on the School District’s books.
• Reconciliations were not completed for all central office bank accounts. The accounts where reconciliations were not completed have minimal activity and are insignificant.

Observation – Bank Reconciliation – School Activity Accounts
• The School District did not establish adequate separation of duties for the key accounting functions of cash receipting, deposit preparation, record keeping, reconciling and cash custody.
• Multiple school activity account reconciliations were not prepared timely.
• Several school activity account reconciliations lacked evidence of who prepared and/or reviewed the reconciliation and when it was prepared or reviewed.

Observation – Untimely Submission of Financial Statements
The State Board of Education required all school districts to submit a complete set of financial statements, ready for audit, by December 31, 2017. DeKalb Schools did not submit their financial statements, disclosures, and supplementary information by this deadline. The financial statements were submitted on September 29, 2018.


The state auditor conducted an audit in accordance with auditing standards and GASB accounting standards (General Accounting Standards Board). On a side note, the CFO for SACS was the lead financial interviewer for the SACS review we had a few years ago. I wanted to go over these state audits with her, but she had never heard of GASB, so I was not able to have a financial conversation with her about any material issues.

The policies and procedures of the School District did not provide adequate internal controls over
• A review of 25 expenditures for compliance with procurement requirements revealed that DeKalb Schools could not provide evidence that an adequate number of rate or price quotations were obtained from qualified sources for four small purchase expenditures reviewed.

The School District did not have adequate controls in place over the financial statement reporting
process to ensure all required activity was correctly included in the financial statement information
presented for audit.
• School activity agency account balances for cash and funds held for others were overstated by $196,599 due to the financial statements not being properly adjusted for the current year activity.
• Charges for services revenues were understated by $14,050,108 and $14,028,324, respectively, due to the financial statements not being properly adjusted for the current year activity.
• Cash was overstated and investments were understated by $34,552,492 due to incorrectly classifying cash accounts

The School District did not maintain an adequate and complete equipment listing for the Child Nutrition Cluster.
• Three out of the 15 equipment items selected from property records for testing could not be physically located.
• Two out of the 15 equipment items selected from the property records for testing did not reflect the appropriate use and condition
• Five equipment items being utilized within the lunchrooms selected for physical inspection did not appear to be reported on the School District’s equipment listings.