By Kathryn Schiliro, Managing Editor

The Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) last Monday, Sept. 9 approved a financial report with a general fund ending balance of more than $1.7 million for the month of August.

The system’s general fund began last month with near $3 million, received more than $1.3 million and spent $2.5 million-plus.

“We’re about where we were this time last year,” Superintendent Dr. Ralph Bennett told the board. He continued to say that expenses were a bit more than they were by about $200,000 compared to the same time last fiscal year.

There are $6 million in reserves in the form of CDs at the Bank of Madison.

The 1 percent Education Local Option Sales Tax (ELOST) brought in more than $284,000 in August. With a beginning balance of near $4 million and expenditures totaling $20,000-plus, there’s near $4.2 million going into September.

The largest ELOST purchase last month was $8,700, spent with City Glass Company for a locked doorway at the primary school.

“Summer projects are over,” Internal Auditor Libby Whitaker told the BOE.

Whitaker also presented a proposal to boost supplemental retirement planning among school system employees. She told the BOE that less than 20 percent of employees were saving for retirement, and of those, about half purposefully save while the other half “fell into it.”

Lack of retirement planning can cause some employees to stay in the system when the pass retirement age, simply because they don’t have enough money to retire.

“Research shows a financially secure educator is a better educator,” Whitaker said.

System administrators have been working with an Alpharetta-based company, Invest-N-U, to present and education in supplemental retirement planning to employees, with an expected rollout in October.

ELOST Expenses for August Total $20,345.88

Morgan County High School ($989.62): $989.62 for completion of the science lab at the new classroom building

Morgan County Middle School ($3,851.89): $3,229.15 to Ernie Morris Enterprises, $622.74 for sewer repair

Morgan County Primary School ($8,702): $8,702 for a locked doorway

Technology ($4,791.50): $4,461.17 for phone system, $330.33 to run power to projection systems

Transportation ($2,010.87): $1,947.87 for diesel pumps, $63 to the tax commissioner for new buses