BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SOUTH CAROLINA WHITMORE SCHOOL
510 Lexington Avenue
Chapin, SC 29036
December 18, 2014
The meeting was called to order by Board of Directors Chair, Dr. Terry Hitch, at 1:30 pm.
Dr. Terry Hitch, Chair; William Robinson, Secretary; Christopher McClure, Treasurer; Ann Brown, DuJuan Council, and Susan DuRant. Additionally Ellen Ray, Principal; John Loveday, Assistant Principal; Michelle Bishop, Compliance Coordinator; Inga Whelchel, Executive Assistant; Courtney Mills, SCPCSD Director of Accountability; Chaz Friendly, Elliot Davis, Inc.; Randi Murphy, Elliott Davis, Inc.; and Bill Moser, Kelley-Moser Consulting.
WELCOME NEW BOARD MEMBERS:
Dr. Hitch congratulated and welcomed the new board members, DuJuan Council and Susan DuRant. Both gave the oath and were sworn in at the same time by Dr. Hitch.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
The minutes of September 18, 2014 were presented. There was a typographical error on the date of the meeting. Bill Robinson asked to amend the date on the minutes from the year 2004 to 2014. Motion made to approve the amended minutes by Mrs. DuRant. 2nd by Mr. McClure. Approved by unanimous vote.
BUDGET UPDATE and REVIEW:
Bill Moser provided October 2014 budget report. Of note were updates on Revenues. An update concerning the Employers Fringe Revenue line item showed the actual allocation of $235,063.66, which was previously $166,160.00. There was a decrease in the Education Finance Act (Hold Harmless) line item to its actual allocation of $0.00, which was previously $63,000.00. An actual allocation of the IDEA line item showed $25,234.83, which was previously $20,092.37. Also, a new revenue line item of Improving Teacher Quality (Title 2) was added.
Updates to Instruction Expenditures were made. Instructional Salaries increased to include the new teacher hired in November, a movement of personnel from contracted to salaried.
The Cash Position as of 10-31-2014 was $646, 169.44, which was the sum of the YTD totals for the Discover Bank CD, the Wells Fargo CD, and the Operating Account. Christopher McClure asked Mr. Moser that the name, “Wells Fargo CD”, was incorrect and needed to be changed to the “Comenity Bank CD”, which Mr. Moser stated he would do.
Mr. Moser also noted that $68,629.43 additional was spent, which is a normal occurrence for charter schools. The IDEA line item reflected spending for special education, but no revenue would be coming in until January 2015. Right now our school is running on money for 244 students, however our ADM is at 325 students. There were no further questions regarding the budget. Motion was made for acceptance of the October budget by Mr. McClure, 2nd by Mr. Council. Accepted by unanimous vote.
ANNUAL AUDIT REVIEW:
The Audit Team from Elliot Davis, Inc. of Mr. Chaz Friendly and Ms. Randi Murphy presented the bound copies of the 06-30-2014 Report on Financial Statements and the 06-30-2014 Report to the Board of Directors to each person present at the meeting. Mr. Friendly stated the audit reports were a clean unmodified opinion and gave a page by page breakdown, explaining both of the reports. Mr. Friendly started with the Report on Financial Statements and noted, under the Statement of Activities, a credit to our net position of $61,430.00 which was the purchase of the school office building.
Mr. Friendly stated that the deficiency on the Schedule of Findings and Responses was the same as last year of converting to an accrual basis of accounting practice, rather than a cash basis of accounting. Mr. Moser replied that Kelley-Moser Consulting is currently changing from cash to accrual basis, “so this finding will disappear”. Mr. Friendly noted another deficiency of relying on the auditing company to prepare the school’s financial statements and suggested the board hire a CPA to prepare the financial statements in the future to correct this deficiency. A third deficiency was discussed of segregation of duties related to disbursements. Ellen Ray stated formal approval is now authorized by someone other than a signer on the checking account in order to be in compliance. Michelle Bishop will be the person authorizing disbursements. The final deficiency was to collateralize any deposits held over the FDIC limit of $250,000.00.
Mr. Friendly focused next on the Report to the Board of Directors. He stated the audit process was closely worked through with cooperation from Kelley-Moser Consulting. Ms. Ray expressed there were no disagreements with management and Kelley-Moser was very respectful and accommodating.
Mr. Friendly brought everyone’s attention to the Summary of Audit Adjustments and noted the financials look different today than those from 06-30-2014 because of these adjustments.
FINANCE COMMITTEE UPDATE:
Mr. McClure addressed the budget cash balance of $646,169.44, which $300,000.00 is now FDIC insured with the purchase of two CD’s (Discover & Comenity Bank). This left a little over $346,000.00 not FDIC insured. It was discussed at the last board meeting to move to purchase another CD. During the first quarter, it was recommended to re-evaluate the cash position when we have the 45-day count. The goal is to transfer funds to a CD in March 2015 and to conservatively transfer $50,000.00 at the end of the year with possibly investing $100,000.00 - $200,000.00 every six months. Each CD has a different renewal date (1st is Sept.-Sept., 2nd is Mar.-Mar., and the 3rd is Dec.-Dec.)
Mr. McClure also stated we did not receive $69,000.00 in special funding (At Risk) year that had been previously awarded in the past. Motion was made to approve the audit reports and financial updates by Mrs. DuRant, 2nd by Mr. Council. Approved by unanimous vote.
ENROLLMENT AND RETENTION:
Mrs. Ray and Mr. Loveday reported a significant increase in student retention. One of the most successful part of that retention is making school orientation mandatory to attend. Mr. McClure asked if simultaneous live webcast orientation was offered. It was stated there was no higher success rate with webcasts than with online orientations. It was explained that on two occasions we had students who were physically unable to attend the live orientation, so our Attendance Coordinator (Casey Donohue) held a live one-on-one orientation through Adobe Connect with each of them. Other aspects of increasing student retention included an effort to publically acknowledge student success through our website, ArtMore E-zine, school newsletter, and social media (Facebook) to build an image that SCWS is a preferred school. Since we do not have means to market our school, a Facebook ad was placed that targeted students 15-18 and their parents. Since placing the ad on Facebook, interest in our school has doubled (calculated by “clicks” on our website). As of 12-01-2014, we have reached capacity enrollment, as determined by the teachers. We wish to keep the student to teacher ratio small, approximately 24:1.
Mrs. Ray presented a report showing an actual ADM of 330.46 students as of 12-18-2014. Our projected ADM was 325 students, so as of the end of the year we are on budget.
DISTRICT ANNUAL REPORT:
Mrs. Bishop distributed the 2014 Charter School Annual Report to everyone present. This report is given to the District Office and then to the State Department of Education. Of note, our school is unique in the fact it is the only mastery-based charter school in SC, targeting “at risk” students. We are one of only six virtual high schools in the State. Our test scores are close to the District average on exit exams with HSAP at 67.6% with District at 68.3%. Our Biology EOC is only 5% off from the District. US History EOC is consistently low across the State. We have grown and the overview is that we are trending by improving or maintaining. Ms. Bishop stated we have reached our three academic goals. Goal #1 of reengaging “at risk” students with 90% completing courses. Goal #2 of students developing independence and responsibility. Goal #3 of students remaining in school or graduating.
Scholarship Committee formation. Dr. Hitch asked for nominations of two board members to set up a school committee along with Mrs. Ray and SCWS Guidance Director, Ebone’ Adams to develop Policies and Procedures for awarding $1,000.00 scholarships at graduation. Dr. Hitch and Mrs. DuRant volunteered to be a part of this committee. Motion to approve the committee by Mr. Robinson, 2nd Mrs. Brown. Approved by unanimous vote.
An Executive Session was called by Dr. Hitch. After completion of the session, Dr. Hitch announced the Board has decided to award each faculty and staff member a bonus of $500.00 for the “stellar annual report and continued hard work”.
The next Board meeting will be on March 19, 2015 at 9:30 AM. No other new business.
Motion to adjourn was made by Mrs. DuRant, 2nd by Mr. Council. Adjourned by unanimous vote.