LAKE CITY, S.C. — Florence County School District Three ended the 2018-19 school year with a fund balance that exceeds the goal set by the district trustees several years ago, according to an annual audit report.

The report was presented by Jim Lawrimore of Lawrimore & Lawrimore, an independent certified public accounting firm that conducted the district’s annual financial audit, during the monthly meeting of the board of trustees Thursday.

Lawrimore noted that the report is a “clean” audit report, which indicates the auditor’s belief that the entity’s financial statements fairly present its financial results, financial position and cash flows.

A state law passed in 2017 requires school districts to have a fund balance of at least 8.33% of the current year’s expenditures. The district’s fund balance now stands at 16.3%, exceeding the board’s goal of reaching 15%.

The audit report shows FSD3 added $2,006,987 to the fund balance at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, bringing the fund balance total to $4,412,602 or 16%.

The district’s fund balance had a deficit of $1,279,757 at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. A cost-cutting plan was implemented to address the fund balance deficit, with a goal of eliminating the deficit in three years. However, FSD3 was able to eliminate the deficit in just one year.

To save money, schools and departments throughout the district delayed purchases when possible. Employee travel for professional development was reduced. Instead, professional development was conducted in-house when possible. Additionally, some staff vacancies were left unfilled, and those job responsibilities were absorbed by other positions.

“I am humbled that we have been able to build the fund balance while maintaining a focus on teaching and learning,” Superintendent Laura Hickson said.

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