Sulphur Springs Head Start Program was found to be in “full compliance” during the last financial audit, but during the triennial monitoring visit during the 2012-13 school year was cited for two issues.
District trustees during their regular July meeting approved the program’s annual report as well as a “corrective action plan” to adress those two issues.
The eight-page annual Head Start report notes the results of the triennial monitoring visit, financial audit, collaborations and partnerships, attendance, make up of students, family and community partnerships, philosophies, classroom and learning experiences and field trips, community outreach topics, parent involvement meetings and readiness goals as well as other relevant topics.
The annual report notes that the Head Start program was “cited for two non-compliances in the area of fiscal operations during its 2013 onsite monitoring visit by the Office of Head Start.”
Those areas include the formula the district was using to figure in-kind contributions and cash disbursements not matching because of the way they are funded, SSISD Business Manager Sherry McGraw told school trustees.
In the corrective action plan approved by the school board, McGraw noted the difference for in-kind matching notation was based on the formula Head Start uses to figure cost of diesel. More documentation is needed, and the plan outlines that change so the district is in compliance. She also noted that the district has more in-kind contributions that are not usually counted that could be.
Twenty percent of the overall Head Start budget must be from “in-kind” donations.
According to the annual report, 11 parents and community members serve on the Policy Council. Of the 65 individuals who volunteered with the program last year, 23 were parents of current or former Head Start children, pre-kindergarteners and kindertners. Community partners volunteered 86 hours during the program in a number of capacities, counting toward the district’s “in-kind donations.” Seven current and former Head Start parents and grandparents are employed by Head Start. Overall, 371 hours are dedicated to the Head Start program by its volunteers.
The annual report lists 34 community collaborations and partnerships, including within the district as well as local businesses, day cares, nursing and health care facilities and professionals, civic clubs, libraries and other related groups.
McGraw also noted that unmatched cash disbursement is for the 2011-12 school year, and appears unmatched based on the difference in funding cycles. The federal Head Start funding calendar runs from July to June, while the district’s starts Sept. 1.
“So the draw down is not equal. In the account, over time, the numbers have gotten off. It’s there, the year just runs different,” McGraw said.
She noted that a new spreadsheet was developed to include all that to show the July-September fiscal year differences. Using the new spreadsheet, the difference is $41,389, which with district approval is to be returned to the Head Start program based on the program rules for funding cycles.
Budgetary expenses for Head Start, according to the annual report, include personnel and fringe benefits; supplies for classroom, office, family services, health, disabilities and parent involvement; vehicle maintenance and supplies; mental health assessments; contracted services and extra duty pay; adult and children’s food; staff training and technical assistance; staff and parent-related travel, both local and out-of-town; medical and dental services; child liability; substitutes; staff morale.
The Head Start Program also works with about two dozen local groups, businesses, clubs and entities for enhanced classroom activities, learning experiences and field trips.
SSISD has offered the Head Start program for 20 years, and most recently had a funded enrollment of 179 for the 2012-13 school year.
The racial break-down of enrolled Head Start students last year included 71 caucasians, 43 Hispanics, 35 African-Americans, 23 multi or bi-racial students, three Asians, one Pacific islander and four Indians or Alaskans. Eighty-five Head Start students were transported by school bus to and from school.
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