By Aila Boyd
Since May 2017, the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors and the Botetourt County School Board have maintained a policy that allows the school division to retain unspent year-end funds for the purchase of capital projects. Approval for purchases up to $150,000 can be made by the county administrator and those exceeding $150,000 require the approval of the Board of Supervisors.
It was noted in the administrator’s comments for the July meeting that it recently came to the attention of the county that school capital purchases were made earlier this year prior to approval by the division and the county, essentially operating outside of the May 2017 agreement. The expenditures totaled $319,935.57. The amount in the Capital Reserve Fund prior to the spending was $535,512.20.
During the transition in division superintendents, the following expenditures were made outside of the approval process: school bus cameras ($203,893.72), chiller repair ($15,000), bus lot cameras ($19,000), James River High School restroom upgrades ($26,500), Central Academy Middle School HVAC ($3,486.92), James River High School chiller ($4,127.16), Read Mountain Middle School tree removal ($8,000) and Eagle Rock Elementary School water system design ($3,541.29).
The administrator’s comments noted that once it was brought to the division finance director’s attention that the process was not being followed, expenditure of funds was halted from the Capital Reserve Fund.
To correct the oversight, the division sought approval from the Board of Supervisors for the expenditures on July 28. The county administrator’s comments said, “Dr. Russ is requesting at this time that the supervisors approve the requested Capital Reserve Fund expenditures and hold the school system accountable for future situations of this same occurrence.”
The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the expenditures.