The school system released a clean audit report for 2021

Photo by Beth Neely

Miller Edwards of Mauldin & Jenkins presents audit information at the May Coweta County School Board meeting.

Tens of millions of dollars are managed by the Coweta County school system each fiscal year, and those millions are being managed properly, according to financial experts.

“I think you have a good situation here that you should be pretty proud of,” said Miller Edwards of Mauldin & Jenkins, an Atlanta-area accounting firm that has conducted external audits of the school system for the past few years. . “Hopefully you all continue to be able to invest in yourself and continue to improve the school district as you have already done.”

Edwards presented information from the 2021 audit report at the Coweta County School Board’s May meeting. He said his firm issued an unqualified opinion on the school system’s financial accounting.

“We call it an unmodified report,” Edwards said. “We believe that what you have here before you presents fairly, in all material respects, the financial results of operations, your financial condition, etc.”

Edwards praised the diligence of Superintendent of Finance Keith Chapman and Comptroller Chris Latimer, as well as the rest of the finance staff.

“They’re always on top of the game,” he said. “I can’t say that everywhere we go. We currently serve about 60 school systems in this state, and (Coweta) is probably one of the best managed I’ve seen. I thought I’d just open up by telling you this, because it’s not necessarily something you hear every day when looking at a system this size.

Edwards said many people may not realize that the school system is a large employer with a large balance sheet and a large income statement and “a lot of stuff is going on here.” He said the school system’s balance sheet showed about $615 million in assets, including about $370 million in the form of facilities and other durable assets.

“You also have about $109 million in cash and investments, which (was) a great place to be on June 30, 2021,” he said.

Liabilities across the school system were approximately $515 million.

“Most of this is very long-term, and most of it has to do with the state’s proportionate share of pension and post-employment benefits that you all play a part in,” Edwards said.

The unqualified audit opinion also extends to the firm’s additional reports, he said, including the more than $22 million the school system has received in federal funding. He also said that the SPLOST fund was well managed.

“I think you have a good situation here, one that you should be very happy with,” Edwards said.

To view the school system’s budget and financial information, including the 2021 fiscal year audit report, visit www.cowetaschools.net and click on the “Financial Information” tab.

Jeremy S. McLain