Thursday, January 26, 2012

C-4 Audit Finds Error, Accounts Not Balanced

Material Weakness Found, Auditor Says Error was Corrected; Some Board Members Call for More In-Depth Second Audit
By Paul Thompson
A recent audit of the Grandview C-4 school district’s 2010-2011 financial operations revealed a “material weakness”-- a revelation that has some board members wanting to pursue further inquiries into the matter.
The district’s annual audit presentation took place last Thursday, January 19th at the Board of Education’s regularly scheduled meeting. During the presentation, certified public accountants Cynthia Byous and John Daniel revealed the material weakness to the board.
A material weakness suggests that the internal controls put in place by an organization to monitor finances have proven to be ineffective. Ostensibly, a material misstatement could occur and a company’s valuation effected if the weakness is not rectified.
In the case of the C-4 district, the material weakness was a result of account reimbursements that were not made in a timely manner. Auditors found no funds to be missing, but some accounts were simply not balanced.
The district has an operating procedure in which it makes debt service payments from a general operations checking account, and then transfers a reimbursement from their debt service savings account. But the audit revealed that this procedure has not been followed with sufficient regularity.
“During the year that ended June 30, 2011, these reimbursements were not made in a timely fashion,” the auditors’ letter to district officials stated. “This was related to the lack of reconciliation of the Debt Service Fund escrow and trust accounts, which has been reported as a material weakness in our report on internal controls...We recommend that, along with timely reconciliation of all bank accounts, monthly reimbursements of debt service expenditures be made from the debt service savings account to the general operations checking account.”
According to the document, “the operating account was out of balance by approximately $749,000, and  Debt Service Fund cash was overstated in the general ledger by $6,134,000” when the auditors began their work. After reconciling the districts’ accounts, the auditors noted that the result was a “prior period adjustment of the District’s Debt Service Fund cash in the amount of $221,524.”
“The problem was some entries had not been posted,” said C-4 Finance Director Ann-Marie Cook. “In the case of the bank showing more than the district did, at that time, we had revenues that we had not recorded yet.”
The bulk of the $6.134 million overstatement in the general ledger resulted from over $5.8 million in bonds that became callable last March. A callable bond allows the issuer, in this case the C-4 district, to buy back the bonds at a previously set call price. When the district took that call, they should have recorded that money as outgoing from an escrow account, but failed to do so. The $221,524 is essentially the difference between the price of the call versus the $6.134 million that was still shown in the district’s ledger.
“We should have recorded the funds going out the door. It was an account held in escrow by a bond trustee to pay off the remaining bonds when they became callable,” said Cook. “We had not recorded those transactions when the auditors began their work.”
The district concurred with the findings of the audit and has created a template to keep track of all reimbursements that need to take place between accounts. The template will theoretically help tighten up recording practices not just for the general fund but also for escrow accounts being maintained by a third party. Because the district took the necessary steps to correct the problem, the auditors still provided the district with a ‘clean’ audit.
In the wake of the disclosure of material weakness, board member Ann Fisher asked the CPAs if it might be prudent to look at the financials with a keener eye.
“You could ask us to go beyond what we are required to do for a standard audit. We could look over every potential control that could be there that you don’t have in place,” answered Byous. “But you have to look at the cost versus benefit whenever you are considering internal control issues.”
Board member Don Fisher asked the board to consider an in-depth, full-scale audit of the financial department.
“I think it’s the public perception,” said Fisher. “We need to show the public that we are doing everything that we can do to find out what this problem might be.”
Board member Ann Fisher agreed that another audit would be a sound decision.
“When you’ve had several people leave, we have to make sure that the people who are still here aren’t working under the burden of mistakes made previously,” said (Ann) Fisher.
C-4 Board secretary Kathy Meyers pointed out that any suggestions for improvement made previously in audits were not considered to be material weakness.
“We’ve never had a material weakness before. I just don’t want there to be a misperception,” said Meyers.
 Board President Rachel Casey said the wording of Mr. Fisher’s request was too vague to make a decision.
“We don’t have any idea what that means,” said Casey in response to Don Fisher’s request for a “full scale audit” of the financial department. “It’s a pretty broad statement. We have no idea what it would cost. Our audit was considered clean, and the problem that was found has been corrected.”
A discussion about a second audit was put on the agenda for the board’s next meeting.
The last time a second audit of the district’s financials was conducted was in 2005, as a “petitioned audit.”  At the time, 1,353 registered voters  requested a second audit of the district’s 2003-2004 financials. The petitioned audit, finished in Nov. 2005, was conducted by then State Auditor Claire McCaskill and cost the district $19,700. McCaskill’s report focused on bidding practices, credit card expenditures, the district’s budget, mobile phones, and a telephone and computer contract with the city of Grandview. The audit did not find any material weaknesses, fraud, embezzlement, theft, or Sunshine Law violations.

One-year Countdown Begins for NNSA/Honeywell Campus Move

When it comes to planning one of the largest and most complex industrial relocations in the nation, every day counts.  In just one year, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Kansas City Plant (KCP) will begin a carefully orchestrated move to its new location with the help of six relocation firms who were recently awarded contracts valued at about $80 million.
One year from this week, on  January 23, 2013, KCP will begin the complex task of moving manufacturing, laboratory and office equipment from its current location at the Bannister Federal Complex to a newly constructed National Security Campus eight miles south at Botts Road and 150 Highway.
A new diamond interchange is also being constructed over 150 Highway to accomodate increased traffic to and from the campus. When complete, vehicles can come and go from the site without disrupting traffic moving along 150 Highway.
 The move to the new campus will involve approximately 2,800 pieces of large capital equipment and over 40,000 moving crates filling approximately 2,600 semi-truck loads.
 “The one-year countdown to moving into the National Security Campus is an exciting and challenging time for all of us at the Kansas City Plant,” said Mark Holecek, manager of NNSA’s Kansas City Site Office. “This new facility offers tremendous advantages to the Nuclear Security Enterprise in flexibility, cost savings, and energy conservation. It is a key element of NNSA’s transformation efforts.”
KCP selected CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), the world’s largest commercial real estate company, to plan and manage the monumental task of relocating the nearly 3 million square feet facility, including manufacturing, engineering and administrative offices, to the new location. With the additional supporting contracts, the total contract value is over $80 million and is one of the largest purchasing contracts awarded by Honeywell FM&T, the managing and operating contractor for KCP.
In January 2013, when construction of the new, state-of-the-art manufacturing and engineering campus is complete, the relocation contractors will begin moving the KCP operations in a phased-in approach.  The move will take place over a 19-month period and will allow for dual operations at both facilities to ensure continued delivery of product in support of national security.
 “We have been preparing for this move for several years,” said Chris Gentile, President of Honeywell FM&T. “Many talented people across NNSA have spent countless hours ensuring that our extensive detailed planning will minimize disruption to operations during this historic move.”
The new smaller, more efficient facility maintains the capability to assure the reliability, safety and security of the nation’s defense systems while enabling NNSA to recruit and retain the next generation of scientists and engineers. KCP remains committed to supporting the President’s nuclear agenda which includes enhanced safety, security, and takes advantages of opportunities to reduce the number of warhead types.
  NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. The NNSA’s Kansas City Plant (KCP) serves as one of our nation’s foremost national security assets. Managed and operated by Honeywell, the KCP manufactures a wide array of sophisticated, mechanical, electronic and engineered material components to ensure the safety and security of our national defense systems and provides high-tech advanced manufacturing jobs to more than 2,700 employees.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Vote Now to Help Name South KC's New Pool

 The new outdoor aquatics center at Longview Tract in south Kansas City is currently under construction and scheduled to open this Memorial Day weekend.
 Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation is asking residents to help name the new facility by voting for their favorite of three name choices: The Bay, The Lagoon or H2Ozone.
There are three ways to vote. Fill out the ballot on page 10 of the Jackson County Advocate this week and drop off your vote at Hillcrest Community Center. Or visit KC Parks website, kcmo.org/parks, or Facebook page to vote.
Hurry! Voting ends January 27, 2012.
Ground for the new $7 million facility was formally broken on July 18, 2011 (pictured). The aquatics center is located on the site of the former YMCA and current Longview Tract park and sprayground at 7101 Longview Road.
Plans for the expanded aquatics facility, scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend of 2012, include a zero entry pool, lap pool, lazy river and water slides.
Additional improvements have already been made to the park including a playground, football fields, shelter houses and a walking trail.

Wayside Waifs to Expand Site

Wayside Waifs, the local no-kill animal shelter, wants to do a $5.8 million expansion.
The Grandview Board of Aldermen on Jan. 10 had a public hearing on whether to grant a conditional use permit to allow the shelter to make significant improvements and expansions of their property. A conditional use permit is necessary because of the shelter’s status as a kennel, which isn’t allowed without a special permit. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the project on January 4.
Wayside Waifs has been a victim of its own success, in terms of space.
“We’ve just run out of room,” Cynthia Smith, the shelter’s president, told Grandview officials. “Our surgery suite is in a room no larger than a common bathroom, and we’ve got three operating tables in there.”
The entire job should be finished in about two to three years, Smith said.
“I love to brag about Wayside Waifs in Grandview,” said Mayor Steve Dennis. “This is something we’re very proud of.”
The board is expected to approve the plan at its Jan. 24 regular session.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Grandview Events to Celebrate 100 Years

The City of Grandview is preparing for its 100th anniversary on February 6, 2012, and you’ll want to put several dates on your calendar to participate in the celebration!
Platted in 1889 as a “whistle stop town” along the Kansas City Southern and the St. Louis–San Francisco Railroad Lines, Grandview was officially incorporated in February 6, 1912, as a village of one square mile. With the help of nearby Richards-Gebaur air base, Grandview experienced a boom and has now grown to include more than 24,475 residents.
An exciting year-long celebration is in the works, including a Centennial Dinner on the weekend of the actual anniversary, the Truman Heritage Festival, including the annual parade and a new carnival in May, a “Grandview Day at the K” at Royals Stadium in June, and an even bigger “Music on Main” event to close out the festivities in September.

centennial dinner
saturday, february 4th
You are cordially invited to attend Grandview’s Centennial Dinner on Saturday, February 4th at The View Community Center. The event will include a reception at 6:30pm, with dinner and a program, including a slide show of the city’s history, starting at 7pm.
Tickets are $20 per person.
Seating is limited due to space restrictions at The View. Please purchase your tickets as soon as possible to ensure your seat. Call Ana Nixon at (816) 316-4812 to reserve your tickets.

the view open house
february 4th & 5th
The View will be hosting on Open House for Grandview residents on Saturday, February 4th and Sunday, February 5th.
Residents can use The View’s amenities (gym, fitness equipment, indoor swimming pool) for free. Please see www.grandview.org for open gym and swim times.
All guests will receive special promotional items. Door prizes will also be given throughout the two days.
Residents are asked to bring proof of residency, such as an ID or utility bill with your name and Grandview address.

Truman Heritage Festival
thurs, may 3rd - sat, may 5th
This community festival will start on Thursday evening, May 3, and will last through Saturday, May 5, with most activities taking place on May 5.
 Along with the largest Harry’s Hay Days parades in years, the festival will include one of the nicest carnivals in the state (with lots of rides), food and drink vendors, performances by regional bands and singing groups, Grandview school bands and musical performances, both car and motorcycle shows, barbecue contest, beer gardens, and much more.
The city hopes to attract a large crowd on Main Street downtown between 15th Street and 7th Street on Friday evening and all day Saturday on the first weekend in May.  The carnival will open on Thursday evening in the large parking lot just north of 8th and Main.
The Saturday program of entertainment will begin with a grand parade, complete with cash prizes for the best floats and entries or performances. 
Everybody is encouraged to register to participate in the parade, whether featuring a float or not.  Interested groups or parties should contact Kelli Dennis at (816)761-1344 to reserve your spot.
Keep your eye on the Advocate for more information and details about the event.

Grandview ‘Day at the K’ - june 22nd
Grandview is teaming up with the Kansas City Royals to provide all local residents with an exclusive ticket offer for ‘Grandview Day at the K’.  On Friday, June 22, the Royals take on the World Champion Saint Louis Cardinals. Celebrate Grandview’s 100th birthday with Mayor Steve Dennis and Tampa Bay quarterback (and former Grandview High School football star) Josh Freeman throwing the first pitch.  Seating for this special night game is limited, so reserve your seats as soon as possible by calling The View at (816) 316-4888.

Music on Main -
september 8th
Now in its eighth year, this one-day music festival will fall on September 8.  The Grandview Chamber of Commerce is already working hard to bring a top flight musical line-up to Main Street. Keep your eye on the Advocate for more info.

Candidate Filing Ends Tuesday

If you’d like to add your name to the April ballot for several local seats, you have until Tuesday to do so.
Filing for the two seats each on the Grandview C-4 and Hickman Mills C-1 school boards, and one Alderman seat in each of Grandview’s three wards, will end at 5pm on Tues, January 17th.

GRANDVIEW C-4 SCHOOL BOARD
Two seats with 3-year terms are open on the Grandview School Board. Both incumbents, Don Fisher and Rachel Casey, have filed for re-election.
For more info and qualifications, call 316-5000.

HICKMAN MILLS C-1 SCHOOL BOARD
This year, two 3-year term positions are up for election on the Hickman Mills School Board. Incumbents George Flesher and Darrell Curls have filed for re-election, and another candidate, Terrance Jones, has also filed.
For more info and qualifications, call 316-7000.

GRANDVIEW BOARD OF ALDERMEN
One Alderman in each of the city’s three wards is up for election. Leonard Jones has filed for re-election in Ward 1. As of press time he is unopposed.
In Ward 2, current Alderwoman Annette Turnbaugh has filed for re-election. She currently has one challenger for the seat, Charles L. Conner.
Ward 3 Alderman Jim Crain was the first to file for re-election when the city clerk’s office opened  on December 13th. He is unopposed as of press time.
For more information about exact qualifications and details about how to file, call Grandview City Clerk Becky Schimmel at 316-4800.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Armed Men Rob Sonic on Blue Ridge Blvd.


Kansas City police are looking for two men who robbed the Sonic restaurant on Blue Ridge Blvd. on Sunday evening.
According to police reports, two masked black males made off with some $1,240 after pistol-whipping a female employee of the restaurant. The men asked for job applications before forcing their way into the restaurant from two different doors at about 6:45 p.m.
After entering, the suspects pointed a revolver and pump-action shotgun at the female employees and demanded money. After obtaining a cash drawer, one of the suspects demanded money from the safe. The employee said it was on a time delayed lock. The suspect pistol-whipped the woman several times and demanded she open the safe anyway. The employee pointed at the time-lock and told the suspect to look for himself. At that point both suspects fled the scene in a tan, mid-sized four-door vehicle with a sun roof.
The first suspect was a black male, 20-25 years old, about 5’7” with a goatee. He wore a faded Carhartt-type jacket and carried a black revolver.
The second suspect was a black male, 6’, carrying a sawed-off pump action shotgun. He wore a tan jacket.
Anyone with information about the crime is urged to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What's the cost of KC Students' Transfers?

Districts Turn to Courts
By Paul Thompson & Andrea Wood
  With the New Year came a turning point for the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS), and it is one that some local school districts are turning to the court system to resolve.
On January 1st, KCPS students became eligible to transfer to a different school district, since their own district officially lost its accreditation by the state.
So far, Grandview C-4, Hickman Mills C-1 and Center are responding to the issue in a similar fashion: they say they are happy to accept KCPS students, as long as their tuition requirements and transportation are paid by KCPS.
For now that seems unlikely. Kansas City has stated it will reimburse local districts that accept KCPS transfer students only $3,733 per student, per year (paid in monthly installments) despite KCPS’s own tuition set at more than $14,000 per year.
As a comparison, the out-of-district yearly tuition per student for local school districts is as follows:
•        Grandview -  $11,869
•        Hickman Mills – $12,111.65
•        Center - $14,198 to $15,329
This amount does not include transportation costs, which local districts expect KCPS to pay as well. But KCPS has said it will not pay for transportation or the full tuition amount requested by its neighboring districts.
On December 23rd, the school districts of Raytown, Lee’s Summit, Independence, Blue Springs and North Kansas City filed a lawsuit asking the court to halt KCPS student transfers until questions surrounding tuition and transportation are resolved. Center also joined the lawsuit, stating that it hoped to minimize mid-year disruptions.
Last Friday, Jackson County Judge Brent Powell rejected the suburban districts’ request. However, until the difference in tuition and transportation costs are resolved, KCPS students can apply for a transfer, but will likely not be able to switch districts yet.
“Board policy requires that Center tuition must be paid in full prior to any transfers starting in our district,” said Kelly Wachel, spokesperson for Center. “We will continue to take applications and information from any student and family requesting a transfer to Center School District, but we will not be accepting transfers until our board policy regarding tuition and transportation requirements are met.”
Where do KCPS students wish to transfer? So far, some districts are seeing more students interested in transferring than others. In the lawsuit that was filed, those districts said they expected potentially hundreds of students to seek transfers.
Grandview school officials said they have only had a few phone calls about potential transfers. Hickman Mills has seen a similar lack of action so far.
“We have had no KCPS students apply at C-1,” said district spokeswoman Regina Taylor last week.

Grandview C-4
School officials in Grandview are laying low on the issue thus far. The district did not join the lawsuit due to the limited number of transfer inquiries they have received, and the associated costs of litigation.
The district doesn’t expect a surge of new KCPS students for the second semester. C-4 PR Director Lane Lucas indicated that he believed the majority of requests would be filed to the North KC, Raytown, and Independence school districts. Superintendent Dr. Ralph Teran concurred, noting that the district would take a wait-and-see approach, but that any incoming students from out of district would likely be obligated to pay out-of-district tuition and transportation.
With many dominoes still yet to fall, Teran emphasized the importance of finding a solution that worked for all parties.
“There needs to be a solution for Kansas City, and the solution for them should be one where adjoining and neighboring districts don’t get hurt,” said Teran. “You (don’t want to) come up with a remedy, and it’s worse than the illness.”

HICKMAN MILLS C-1
At its most recent school board meeting, Hickman Mills officials took action to clarify their out-of-district tuition policies.
Hickman Mills Superintendent Dr. Marge Williams also sent a letter to parents last week addressing questions about how potential KCPS student transfers could impact their district.
“While we anticipate no immediate impact on our schools, we do want you to know we are working with the KCPS to do what’s best for ALL children, regardless of where they attend class,” Dr. Williams stated in a letter to parents last week (read the full letter at www.hickmanmills.org).
She reiterated that the district would not accept any transfers unless KCPS pays the full tuition for students, and pays for the transportation of those students.

CENTER
Center joined five local suburban school districts in the lawsuit that asked the courts to either halt KCPS student transfers until the tuition and transportation issue had been resolved, or force KCPS to pay for those costs according to the district receiving the students.
Although the judge rejected the suit, the issue is not out of the courts yet.
“Court challenges to current laws, potential new legislation, and other factors of uncertainty still surround the accreditation and transfer issue,” stated Kelly Wachel, spokesperson for Center.

Many district officials are working together through the Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City organization—which has 29 metro school districts as members—to examine the issue. Center School Board President Joe Nastasi serves on the CSDGKC board of directors, and Dr. Williams serves on the organization’s accreditation task force.
As schools open back up this week following winter break, the question of where KCPS students are looking to go may become clearer. In the meantime, a decision must be made—either by the courts or by the Missouri Department of Education—regarding how Kansas City students will be able to transfer to a different district…one that may offer them an improved education, and future.

Candidates Begin to File for School, City Seats

Throw your hat in the ring! 
By Andrea Wood 
 Candidates have started adding their names to the April ballot for several seats on local city, school and water district boards.
If you have ever considered serving as a public official you still have time to do so. Filing will continue for two seats each on the Grandview C-4 and Hickman Mills C-1 school boards, one Alderman seat in each of Grandview’s three wards, and one seat on the Jackson County Water District #1 Board until Tuesday, January 17th.

GRANDVIEW C-4 SCHOOL BOARD
Two seats with 3-year terms are open on the Grandview School Board. Both incumbents, Don Fisher and Rachel Casey, have filed for re-election.
Candidates must at least be 24 years old; a U.S. citizen, resident tax payer of the school district, and will have resided in Missouri for at least one year from the election date. For more info and full qualifications, call 316-5000.

HICKMAN MILLS C-1 SCHOOL BOARD
This year, two 3-year term positions are up for election on the Hickman Mills School Board. Incumbents George Flesher and Darrell Curls have filed for re-election, and another candidate, Terrance Jones, has also filed.
Candidates must at least be 24 years old; a U.S. citizen, resident tax payer of the school district, and will have resided in Missouri for at least one year from the election date. For more info and full qualifications, call 316-7000.

GRANDVIEW BOARD OF ALDERMEN
One Alderman in each of the city’s three wards is up for election. The boundary for those wards has changed since the last election, which means some residents are voting in a different ward than last time.
Which ward are you in? See the map on page 3.
Leonard Jones has filed for re-election in Ward 1. As of press time he is unopposed.
In Ward 2, current Alderwoman Annette Turnbaugh has filed for re-election. She currently has one challenger for the seat, Charles L. Conner.
Ward 3 Alderman Jim Crain was the first to file for re-election when the city clerk’s office opened  on December 13th. He is unoposed as of presstime.
Candidates must be at least 21 years of age; a U.S. citizen; a resident of the ward from which elected; Must be a resident of Grandview at least 1 year before election; a registered voter; and be current on all City taxes and fees, including business licenses and personal and real property taxes, before the close of filing for office.
For more information about exact qualifictions and details about how to file, call Grandview City Clerk Becky Schimmel at 316-4800.

JACKSON COUNTY
WATER #1 BOARD
The Jackson County Water District #1 Board of Directors has a seat up for election from Subdistrict No. 5.
Subdistrict No. 5 is legally described as follows: Commencing at the point of intersection of the East boundary of the District and Highgrove Road; Thence West along Highgrove Road to U.S. Highway 71; Thence South along U.S. Highway 71 to 139th Street; Thence East along 139th Street to the East boundary of the District; Thence North to point of beginning.
Candidates must be at least 25 years old, and a resident within the District for one year prior to election.
For more information and full qualifications, call (816) 761-5421.