From left are Upshur County Schools Assistant Superintendent Russ Collett and Superintendent Christy Miller at this week's Upshur County Board of Education meeting. (Photo by Katie Kuba)

Upshur County Schools to share findings from 2022-2023 financial audit at upcoming meeting

BUCKHANNON – The audit of Upshur County Schools’ finances for the 2022-2023 fiscal year is now complete.

At the March 12 meeting of the Upshur County Board of Education, Miller said the report would be made public once the county replies to the West Virginia Department of Education’s findings.

“We did receive back last week the results of the audit,” she said. “However, we cannot release the specifics of it yet because we do have to respond to things that they shared with us. Those responses have been sent in, and we’re waiting for confirmation back from the West Virginia Auditor’s Office on what we have put forth.”

Upshur County Schools Treasurer Sarah Wills and Miller will present the findings soon.

“[We] will present a full report on the audit showing the findings or anything else that is contained within it that is worthy to point out as well that the school audits that came back,” Miller said. “Those items will also be shared with the schools.”

Central Office administrators, directors and school principals will then discuss how to rectify problematic audit findings and implement those strategies.

Also, during Tuesday’s meeting, Upshur County Schools Assistant Superintendent Russ Collett presented the list of personnel and said that, unfortunately, two more professional resignations had occurred.

“They’re not leaving us because they’re unhappy; one of them involves a wedding, and of course, Mr. [Zach] Davis was our head football coach,” Collett said. “He’s moving closer to family.”

“On a more positive note, though, our hiring does continue to improve,” he added. We have 15 new hires, and several of those are in the service area. As Mrs. Miller said at a meeting earlier, today (March 12) marks 14 days of not having to cancel a bus ride, so we’re very happy those things are happening.”

The school district still needs to hire teaching substitutes, aides, secretaries and cooks, Collett said.

Collett said Accounts Payable manager Alex Pugh is now a certified accountant, so he will move into a different role.  

“We are getting our Financial Office set up in the Board Office, and Mr. Pugh will be transferred as a professional accountant now, and so we will look to hire a purchasing director,” Collett said. “I’m not sure exactly what the title will be yet, but we will get that fourth person into the Financial Office so we’re able to follow Code and do things correctly.”

During her report, Miller encouraged residents to download the revamped UpshurStrong app, available for free on the Apple or Google app stores.

“We’re also working diligently on trying to get our information posted to our website,” Miller said. “We’re trying to get more out there so folks can understand what is going on.”

Board member Daya Wright requested that the Fred W. Eberle Technical School graduation and the Buckhannon-Upshur High School graduation dates be added to ‘Events’ on the website and UpshurStrong app.

In other news, Miller said all audits of schools will be complete within the next two weeks, with only Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School and Buckhannon-Upshur High School left to go. Once all schools have been audited, administrators and instructors can correct errors on current IEPs in the system.

While some IEPs may simply need revisions to the original document, others will require “full-blown IEP meetings,” Miller said. “[The school audits] are also illuminating some additional professional development needs that we have with our special educators.”

Board member Roy Wager asked for clarification on how the Reduction In Force – or RIF – process would take place this year since board members can’t make decisions about personnel due to the WVDE takeover.        

Miller said decisions have not been finalized, and once they are, she will present them to the board.

“Mr. (Russ) Collett has been out to speak to everyone that may be RIF’ed, but no final decisions have been made,” Miller said.

Wager wanted to know if and how employee hearings would still take place.

“If we do have hearings, since personnel is now one of our areas that we’re allowed [to make decisions] in, it’s not for us, so how will that work?” he asked.

Miller said the WVDE has already appointed an individual to come and listen to anyone wishing to have a hearing.

“Then they’ll make the decision?” Wager asked.

“Yes,” Miller replied.

Upshur County Schools’ website can be found here, and 2024 Levy Information may be found here.

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!