Schools to seek interim superintendent

By Nicholas Elmes -

Stokes County School will seek an interim superintendent to lead the system through the spring instead of trying to fill the position immediately when current Superintendent Ronnie Mendenhall retires in February.

The board decided to take this path during their regular meeting Monday after getting advice from school attorney Fred Johnson.

“We need to have a period of not less than 60 days for a person to complete the application process,” Johnson told the board. “The problem you have now is you are running into the holiday period and you will have a lot of potential candidates who are still under contract. I feel you would have a greater field of applicants if you go for a July 1 start date.

“There are always difficulties when you have someone come in in the middle of the school year,” he added. “This way you would have the second semester to do the advertising and interview process.”

Johnson said once the school system starts taking applications he will compile a separate notebook for each board member with each application in it.

“The board will select those candidates they wish to interview, conduct the interview process and narrow it down to the finalists,” said Johnson. “Then you might have a second round of interviews for the finalists.”

Board Chair Sonya Cox said the board would start looking at possibilities for an interim superintendent in November or December.

Audit approved

The School Board unanimously, with board members Becky Boles and Jamie Yontz not present, approved the annual audit report presented by Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP.

CPA Matt Adams, a West Stokes High School graduate, told the board that in general the audit looked good, but noted that the board should pay careful attention to its dwindling fund balance.

“Over the past three years there has been a trend that you have had to eat into your fund balance,” he said. “These are planned decreases, but you need to be very aware of the fact that you have decreased the fund balance. You have about enough fund balance right now to cover one month’s worth of expenditures.”

Adams also pointed out that the school food service fund had continued to have losses, resulting in a deficit of $22,903.

“Food sales have decreased by about $200,000 over the past three years,” he said. “The food costs have remained pretty flat over that same period. It is really kind of a perfect storm. Fewer kids are purchasing meals and with the new federal requirements you have not been able to cut your food costs.”

Adams said his firm saw similar problems in school districts across the state.

“All across the state it is basically the same situation,” he said. “Your child nutrition director is very aware of this.”

The approved audit included a corrective action plan for child nutrition which calls for a variety of action including online menu surveys; advisory groups for planing menus; increased efforts to expand free and reduced price enrollment; placing more information about the program online; increasing revenue through offering more a la carte options, expanding catering services, and obtaining waivers for non-whole grain products; and reducing costs by reducing the number of substitute workers, developing cycle menus to help with inventory and eliminating uniform allowances for employees.

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

By Nicholas Elmes

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