Anna Simo, who heads BCAA, said that she and the director of Head Start are working to see if they can get a majority of the $32,300 mistake reimbursed by the grants that initially should have funded it.
Simo, in an email sent Friday to county commissioners, writes, “The one-sided journal entry made in February 2013 not only affected our Head Start Program, it also affected other grants totaling $32,300 of insurance premiums that we did not draw down from our grants.”
The largest part of the error was for Head Start, which totaled $26,751.12.
Essentially, money was paid by the county but requests for reimbursement from the funding grants doesn’t appear to have been made.
“In reviewing general ledgers between February 2013 and April 2013, when we questioned it, we were provided a journal entry showing an ‘in and out’ to the expenditures, not realizing that the expenditures had actually been increased,” Simo wrote.
“In preparation for our Head Start final to submit by Oct. 31, 2013, we realized the impact of the prior year close-outs for our grants.”
Simo said that they hope those who run the grant will have compassion and help them find a way to have this amount reimbursed.
As of yet, that has not happened.
“We were denied our request, due to the time frame (one year later), and as noted by the Head Start grants specialist, the grant period had been closed out,” Simo said.
“We contacted her again to make a plea for the submission of an amended report, and she noted that we needed to get with our auditor to obtain some answers on some questions regarding this matter.”
Simo said that they are still working with the county’s auditor’s office.
She writes, “We will make a continued effort to obtain the Head Start funds...”
The rest of the $32,000, which amount to about $5,500, are not likely to be reimbursed.
“As for the other grants, we will not be able to go back and capture those funds,” Simo writes.
“To prevent this from happening again, BCAA will strengthen the monitoring of all financial information processed through the auditor’s office,” Simo writes.
New software and updates to the operating manual and BCAA accounting manual concerning journal entries will “ensure reasonableness, allowability, and allocability for our grants,” Simo writes.
This isn’t the first time that Head Start has had issues with funding.
Back in August and September, county leaders were notified that Head Start was facing a shortfall of students which could still force them to give back some of their federal funding.
The decreased enrollment will mean that the program is receiving too much money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The lower enrollment was at least partially attributed to the restructuring of Beeville ISD schools.
During a meeting in September, Simo told the court that they would likely be requesting a reduction through sequestration of 25 enrollment slots and an additional 40 slots to be reduced due to lack of income eligible applicants.
This too came on the heels of an announcement that the Senior Meals Program, administered then by BCAA, was going to be short of funds.
The court had to fund an additional $66,000 to keep the program running through this past fiscal year.
The meals program provides food to elderly, disadvantaged people within the county, either by delivery to their homes or served at a central location.
Alice Community Action Agency now runs that program for the county.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.