For the second year in a row, the annual financial audit for Somerset Independent Schools brought out praise from the firm in charge of conducting it.
Wallace Smallwood of Cloyd & Associates PSC gave the school board a glowing report. He summed up the audit by saying, "Somerset Independent, for it's size, is probably the strongest school we've seen. A lot of these schools, you see the negative numbers on the unrestricted amounts, especially in food service and government-wide funds, so Somerset seems to be financially very strong and seems to be getting stronger every year."
Superintendent Kyle Lively publicly praised the district's financial officer Tracy McCrystal, saying, "She's done a fantastic job."
School Board President Dr. Michael Hail extended that praise to McCrystal, Superintendent Lively and the rest of the district's administration.
"They do a great job in the management of our finances," Hail said. "They're good stewards. It's reflected in the auditor's comments that we are the most financially sound school system of the many school systems that they audit. I think that reflects on the commitment of the community, the teachers and the staff, to maintain an excellent school that's financially sound."
Smallwood specifically pointed to two areas: Unrestricted capital funds and food service funds.
Discussing the unrestricted capital funds, Smallwood said the school showed a balance of $3.17 million in the black, rather than being in the red, which he sees more often.
"That is getting to be a highly unusual thing to see. Usually, that's in the negative at about every school we see. So, that's a really good thing to have," he said.
Similarly, food service funds are usually negative, whereas Somerset shows a positive number.
Smallwood then turned his attention to governmental funds - "This is what the school is actually run on," he explained. He stated that one of the categories under the General Fund held a balance of $12.388 million, an excellent balance to see in that category.
He also pointed out that the Special Revenue fund does not borrow any money from the General Fund, as most schools do.
"So your special revenue fund is in good shape as well," he said.
Smallwood also praised McCrystal and the district's financial staff during the auditing process, saying, "Everybody we dealt with did an excellent job. They did their jobs. They knew what to get us. Everything went smooth."