County school system receives clean audit – fourth in a row

Lisa Myers, director of finance for Coffee County Schools

This is the fourth consecutive year that the Coffee County School System has received a clean audit from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury.

Lisa Myers, director of finance for Coffee County Schools, has worked hard to ensure the school system has a strong system allowing for accurate financial reporting and clear checks and balances.

“There were three main concerns that our department worked diligently to resolve,” Myers said. “The first was developing internal controls and segregating job responsibilities to help with effectiveness and efficiency of financial operations.”

The second involved timely reconciliation of liability accounts, said Myers.

“This is an important step to decrease the risk of material misstatements in our financial statements,” Myers said. “This also contributes to our third focus of our financial statements being timely and accurate so no audit adjustments are necessary.”

It’s essential to keep an open mind during the audit process to watch to things that may need to be implemented to comply with future regulations, added Myers.

Myers commended her team. 

“I am most proud of Coffee County Schools’ financial team that contributes to this accomplishment,” Myers said. “We have learned so much from one another.”

Each member contributes to the management of the schools’ budgets, totaling more than $46 million. In addition to overseeing the budget, the team is currently involved with two significant projects– the North Coffee and New Union School renovation projects.

Carlan Cotton, director of Student Support Services, and her assistant, Katie Dorak, are responsible for the Food Service budget, which is about $2.7 million and provides more than 270,000 breakfasts and almost 500,000 school lunches annually, said Myers.

“Cindy Rittenberry is our benefit specialist and works with insurance and state retirement to readily assist over 600 full-time employees,” Myers said. “Janet Morgan is our payroll specialist working with all school sites to ensure accuracy in our complex payroll calculations from certified teachers to part-time custodians which culminates in the issuance of almost 1,000 W-2s at year-end. Melissa Todd is willing to assist where needed but is mainly responsible for federal and food service payrolls, benefit reconciliations and state reimbursements.

“Stacey Booth and Christina Dotson make a great team as our purchasing agent and accounts payable clerk respectively. Together they are responsible for over $6.5 million in purchases each year from school supplies to construction projects and issue over 4,000 checks annually.”

Hollyn Clark serves as the district office receptionist and helps with cash receipts and data input which allows the school system to accomplish internal controls and segregation of duties goals, according to Myers.

“As director of finance, I am very proud that our school system focuses on financial responsibility which culminates in being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Myers said. “By having effective operations and a healthy fund balance, we are able to have a vision of upgrading classroom learning environments throughout our district. We certainly still have budget hurdles but with planning, we can hopefully keep executing services to our students effectively and efficiently. It is an honor to be a part of the Coffee County team that achieved a countywide findings-free audit.”

Charles Lawson, director of Coffee County Schools, said he’s proud of the team.

“I am proud that the board of education has put me in a position to join a staff that includes many dedicated professionals in all of our departments,” Lawson said.  “Because I have only been director for seven months, I cannot take any credit for the past accomplishments of the finance department of Coffee County Schools, including four consecutive years of clean audits .  Lisa Myers and her staff are always guided by their desire to do what is best for the students and employees of Coffee County Schools.  Additionally, they are diligent in their work and that shows with the clean audits.  Coffee County Schools will continue to be good stewards of the public funds we receive and apply those funds for the education of the youth in this community.”

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