“When I took the job, there was some
disorganization. I’m not sure everyone knew where things stood. In any
government agency, deficits increase from year to year. In business, you
can just write it off at the end of the year, but here it accrues from
year to year; it is cumulative,” said Calhoun County Schools finance
director Dan Minney in a Friday interview with the Chronicle.
Minney, who earned degrees in both business
management and accounting from Glenville State College in 1988 and 1996,
respectively, assumed his current post with the school system in
Prior to coming to Calhoun, Minney served as plant
manager for Flying W Plastics, Glenville, 1986-1996; project manager on
construction of the Lignetics wood processing center in Stouts Mills,
1996-1997; cost accountant and project manager for Lang Brothers of
Bridgeport, 1998 until 2008; state auditor’s office from 2008 until
coming to Calhoun in 2013. He was part of the team that audited the
Calhoun school system in 2008.
“We went back to see what things looked like, and
clearly there was a downward trend,” he said in discussing attempts to
determine precisely how and when the school system’s finances began to
fall into a deficit.
Minney outlined difficulties in comparing and
contrasting past and present school accounting systems and results. He
said that the school financial director’s position has “evolved” from
2005 until the present: “From the late ’90s until present, it went from
a cash system to a ‘modified accrual’ basis of accounting and, from
there, to a ‘full accrual’ system.
“This makes it difficult to make comparisons
between now and anything prior to or since 2007. The basis of accounting
then was significantly different.”
Minney explained that levy funds, which cannot be
directly applied toward reducing the deficit, must be dispensed as the
levy call directs. State auditors will insure that terms of the levy are
According to Minney, the levy funds:
--Will provide more than $722,000 per year over a
period of five years.
--May not be directly applied to deficit reduction.
--Must be spent in accordance with the levy call.
--Will pay utilities and other routine operating
--Will free up state appropriated funds so they may
be applied to deficit reduction.
--Must be spent in entirety every year.
--Are not to be used to save up money.
--Will reinstate some lost position days, although
Minney said it is likely that some need to be looked at, inasmuch as
they did not merit the number of days in their contracts.
--Provide some latitude to do things that need
Projections have it that, with the levy in place,
the deficit could be purged within a five-year period. Although he did
not disagree, Minney said that there are no guarantees: “About the time
to ask for a renewal, things should be in pretty good shape. The levy
will not pay off the deficit; it will free up other funds that may be
applied to the deficit.”
“Management needs to insure that the money is spent
wisely,” said Minney. “It needs to be monitored. We want to be careful
that we don’t just turn around here and spend the monies that are freed
“We must remain cognizant of what we are spending
and what we are doing, being frugal and aware,” added Minney.
He said that the school board currently has only
one other levy, the county library levy, which calls for .4 cent per
$100 and expires June 30, 2017. The county
library receives $28- $30,000 per year from the levy that was run under
the board of education umbrella because the board requires only a 51%
simple majority, whereas other levies require 61%: “We receive a check
from the sheriff and we pass it on to the library.”
“Passing a levy can bring the community into the
[education] process,” said Minney. “Fully understanding the levy and
seeing the three areas in which the money can be spent enables voters to
make a more informed decision.”
Minney suggested that passing the levy should
provide voters and taxpayers with larger opportunities for project
suggestions and a heightened voice for input into how money is to be
He expressed his disappointment that, during the
last levy attempt, there was no significant attendance at three public
meetings, one at each of the three county schools: “This was bad,
because people need to become informed and make informed decisions when
voting. People need to know how we arrived here over time, and let them
make up their own minds with full understanding.”
Calhoun County Schools will host a community forum
to discuss the excess levy proposal on Monday, Oct. 20, in the Calhoun
Middle/High School auditorium.
Early voting begins Wednesday, Oct. 22, with
election day on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
A life-long resident of Gilmer County,
Minney has four children and three grandchildren.