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Dawson schools praised for finances
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The Dawson County school system was honored by the state for its financial reporting.

A state auditing team presented the Board of Education with the Award of Distinction for Excellent Financial Reporting. The district was one of just 26 in the state’s 180 to receive this first-year award.

“This past year, the state auditor wanted to start recognizing those systems that we audit that did an outstanding job,” said Claire Arnold, director of Georgia’s education audit division. “We do over 236 annually ... and these entities make our job a whole lot easier.”

The board of education’s finance department is made up of: Jamie Ulrich, director of financial services; Gail Lowman, accounts payable receivable; Sherri Autry, staff accountant; and Dianne Allison, payroll/benefits administrator.

“It’s a pleasure to award this distinction to the Dawson County Board of Education. There are a lot of attributes that awardees had to meet,” Arnold said. “This system’s report was the cleanest opinion that we can issue, which is an unmodified opinion. That’s the best you can do. There were no findings in the report that needed correcting.”

Ulrich said she can’t take sole credit for the award, nor did she want to.

“I’m just the support here,” Ulrich said. “When I first came, our financial statements were prepared by the state audit team, who then audited their own work. And that was a problem.

“These ladies help me to make sure that everything is accounted for and in the correct place and they do an outstanding job. I couldn’t ask for a better team.”

Arnold said the award is a high distinction, and rarely, had she seen a system with such a well-managed financial records.

“You should be very proud of the financial team you have here,” she told the board. “I’ve always felt — and I have audited school districts for over 22 years — that if you do not have a sound accounting staff, it makes the operations of the district more difficult. You should be thankful that you have a very good group.”

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