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SMACKOVER — The Smackover-Norphlet School Board approved a recommendation to replace the softball bleachers at its meeting Tuesday night.

District Superintendent Dave Wilcox said that because of the seating capacity, replacing bleachers is “past due.”

“I just know last year at the tournament I heard some of our visitors making comments about the lack of seating area there,” board vice president Lynn Birchfield said.

The district will purchase two sets of six-row bleachers, one that is 19 feet long and the other is 16 feet long. While the superintendent couldn’t give the board a clear timetable for the project, but he said that the grand total is nearly $30,000.

Expenses includes the cost of the bleachers, dirt work, concrete and assembly. The largest of these is the bleachers, Wilcox said.

“The smaller set would be closest to Mount Holly Road. You have a limited amount of space there. The other would be closest to the track there and both of these are cut back. These things are originally sold in like 21-foot sets, so we’ve had to cut both of them back to fit them there.”

Mike Cobb, a certified public accountant for Cobb & Suskie, visited the board to give an audit report after reviewing the district’s financial statements from years prior.

“We had no what we would call findings, management letter recommendations, weaknesses we found or violations of federal or state laws that we’re required to look into,” he said.

Financial statements show $7 million in general fund cash, a slight increase from the year before, Cobb said. Excess revenues over expenditures totaled to more than $675,000 that get transferred to other funds.

“For those that kind of like to follow it, one of the reasons you have transfers out is to take care of your debt service, cover the principal and interest that has to be taken care of,” the CPA said. “We’re showing for the year we’re in now that it’s a half-million dollars, so it’s important that the general fund operates at a surplus in order to get it to the other funds to pay your debt.”

Because the district operated with less money than it budgeted, the auditor commended the board and business office for its decision-making. As previously reported by the News-Times, the district experienced a budgeting scare earlier this year.

“The story that it tells me is that the revenue for this past year that we audited was down from the last two years, but that you responded to that and kept your expenditures in line … so I know from experience that nothing happens on accident, that it happens because people study it, take care of business and make tough decisions,” Cobb said.

The Arkansas School Boards Association acknowledged Cliff Preston and Damon Goodwin with Outstanding Board Member awards, bringing home two of the region’s three honors. Preston and Goodwin received the honor because they completed over 25 in board member training, Wilcox said.

The Smackover-Norphlet School Board’s next meeting is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 22 in the central office boardroom.

Brittany Williams may be reached at 870-862-6611 or Follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook @BWilliamsEDNT for updates on Union County school news.

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