LHISD earns favorable report from auditor

By SHELLY WILKISON

Liberty Hill school trustees on Monday received a favorable report from auditors on the district’s 2012-2013 financials.

Robert Marchbanks said there were no irregularities in accounting practices, the financials were presented fairly and were materially correct.

The district had a deficit budget in 2012-2013 that was later amended to include expenses associated with transitioning into new facilities, a salary increase for some employees that took effect during the summer months, and training for new and transitioning employees, said Business Manager Frank Watson.

“The general operating fund showed a deficit budget  when it was set in August 2012. At that time, we anticipated expenses, but rather than guess what those would be, we came back and amended the budget (to the actual expenses),” Watson said.

He said the additional expenses associated with moving campuses and moving into a new high school was almost $35,000 over what was originally budgeted.

Despite the additional expenditures, the district maintained a $4 million fund balance at the end of the 2012-2013 fiscal year, which ended in September, Marchbanks said.

Watson said additional monies were used from a food service fund balance to pay for equipment in the culinary arts classroom at the new high school, as well as for additional cafeteria equipment in the new school facilities.

In other business Monday, Superintendent Rob Hart explained differences in UIL’s new process of realignment of school districts for 2014-2016.

On Dec. 2, UIL officials announced high school enrollment cutoff numbers for each of six classifications. For 2014, a new Class 6A will be created. Liberty Hill, with an enrollment of 954 as reported to UIL on Oct. 31, will move into Class 4A from Class 3A.

“They added a new Class 6A, so we just bumped up,” Hart said.

He said the UIL breakout for high school enrollment for Class 4A is 465-1,059. With Liberty Hill’s growth, he did not expect the district would stay in that class for longer than two years.

At the end of November, there were 2,999 enrolled in all Liberty Hill schools, and as of Monday, the number had increased to 3,006. Monday’s total reflected a 63-student increase from the first day of school in August.

“That is a milestone (topping 3,000),” he said. “It separates us and puts us in with a different set of schools.”

In the new realignment process, football is considered differently from the other sports. Hart said Liberty Hill, which will be in Class 4A Division I for football, could possibly be assigned a different district for all other sports.

The realignment announcement is expected from UIL on Feb. 1, 2014.

Also Monday, the Board of Trustees received a Resolution from the Texas House of Representatives commemorating the dedication of the new high school.

The resolution, which was passed by State Rep. Marsha Farney, R-Georgetown, was presented Monday to the Board by Rep. Farney.

Attending her first LHISD board meeting since her election in 2012, Dr. Farney commended district administrators and elected officials for their leadership and commitment to Liberty Hill students.

“Liberty Hill is the place to be, primarily because of the leadership in this room,” she said.

The resolution included facts about the new high school, which was dedicated to the community during a special event in October.

Following an executive session, the Board accepted the resignations of John Wayne Roberts (DAEP teacher) and Special Education Director Marcia Scott.

Hart also informed the Board the high school Coach Gretchen Peterson has been nominated for the 2013 UIL Sponsor Excellence Award.  Peterson coaches Lady Panther volleyball.

Not present Monday were Trustees Alphie Perrin and Shawn Roberts. The meeting was held in the new Liberty Hill Intermediate School cafeteria