Accountant says Altus district complies with state regulations

By Rick Carpenter -

The auditor who presented an audit of the Altus School District said an adverse opinion amounted to boiler-plate language that shouldn’t alarm taxpayers.

Rick Miller of accounting firm Britton, Kuykendall & Miller of Weatherford, presented the audit to the Altus Independent School District No. 018 Board of Education in December for the fiscal year 2017 which ended on June 30, 2017.

Miller, a certified public accountant, said the Oklahoma State Department of Education does not require school districts to include fixed assets with financial statements. But because the audit applies criteria established by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, or GASB, which requires fixed assets to be included with financial statements he had to write that as an adverse opinion and that much of the language in the opinion comes from other audit reports across the state.

The Altus Times reported that information in an earlier edition and one local accountant, who asked not to be named, complained that the story misled the public into thinking the district could be out of compliance with normal accounting procedures.

Miller said that he doubts most school districts have a list and value of their fixed assets — such as buildings, furniture, computer equipment and software — and that’s why the state doesn’t require it.

Miller said he wants residents to know that the district’s financial statements are in compliance with all of the State of Oklahoma regulations for school districts.

During the board meeting on Dec. 11, the board moved the audit to the front of the meeting so that Miller could make his presentation before driving to another district to make a similar presentation. He said many districts meet on the same night and attending all of the meetings becomes a scheduling nightmare. He said he may have appeared to speed through the presentation because it was moved up on the agenda and he was trying to make it to the other meeting.

Outside audits are used to determine whether the amounts and disclosures are accurately reported in financial statements prepared by public officials. Outside audits also look at risk management by reviewing internal controls to make sure appropriate procedures are followed and offers suggestions to improved those internal controls.

The audit looked at internal controls, compliance material for financial statements and compliance to federal award programs. The district received a clean bill of health for all of those other criteria.

By Rick Carpenter

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