I have now studied the Itawamba School District’s financial statements from the past five years. I received a single page, abbreviated general fund balance summary from the ICSD central office. I compared the figures they sent me to the actual figures from the respective state audits. The ICSD exaggerates the decrease in the general fund total balance by approximately $300,000. (2016-2019)
In addition, the ICSD claims their “coding error” was $1.2M instead of $1.8M. I believe this is being used to misrepresent withdrawals from the general fund.
Moving on to the “trajectory” Mr. Wiygul has used to justify his actions to consolidate seventh and eighth grades, it is also misleading. First, he is comparing December spending amounts when the fiscal year ends in June. If more than half of the budget is used by December, it does not mean they will be over budget in June. For instance, if I pay most of my household bills before the 15th of the month, it does not mean I will be out of money by the end of the month. It just means I won’t spend as much the last half.
Using actual June amounts, we are not on the downward spiral that Mr. Wiygul professes. Based on the figures given to me by ICSD, we withdrew significantly less in 2019 than in 2017 and 2018. Based on the audits, our local, state, and federal funding has been consistent. Our long-term debts are decreasing annually.
It is my opinion that the decision to close seventh and eighth grades has absolutely nothing to do with finances. If it was about a financial crisis, much more efficient and effective actions could have been taken.
In my opinion also, if our school board members are not going to provide some checks and balances for our school district, they need to step down and let some people that actually care fill their positions. The system promotes complacency. I believe terms should be no longer than two years with set term limits. I also disagree with the school board appointing the superintendent. The system has allowed this to happen, and it is a cruel injustice to our school administrators, teachers and, most importantly, the students.