Most of Monday's meeting included discussion on the ongoing issue of collection of unpaid student fees

At last night’s Augusta USD 402 Board of Education meeting the only action taken was the approval of the district audit.

Randy Ford with Busby Ford & Reimer, LLC advised the board there were no significant deficiencies or instances of noncompliance to the financial statement.

There was a great deal of discussion concerning the ongoing issue of collection of unpaid student fees.

Superintendent Dr. John Black reminded board members in 2011 they had approved the recommendation of using a formal collection process for collecting the unpaid fees. The district has been using a collection agency for the last four years to collect payments for breakfast and lunch programs, however at that time, the district did not include using the agency for collecting the unpaid student fees. After discussion at that time, the board did approve using a formal collection agency process for collecting the unpaid fees.

“After visiting with the Fiscal Planning Committee and attending another Kansas Setoff program training, administration will move forward to initiate the collection process,” Black continued. “And in case a board member receives a phone call from a patron asking why they were turned over to a collection agency, we want you to know what’s going on.”

The Setoff program allows the State Director of Accounts and Reports to set off moneys the State owes debtors against moneys owed to the State of Kansas. If patrons’ social security numbers are not available, Kansas Setoff will charge 23.4 percent and 18.4 percent, with social security numbers.

The district’s total of outstanding fees as of June 13 is $121,516.64. This does not include fees for 2013-14 or any payments made on any outstanding balances since June 13.

“We appreciate patrons who pay as they go and their commitment to the district,” Black said.

BOE President Bill Rinkenbaugh agreed, saying, “The message we want to send to those who don’t keep paid up is that we need the revenue to operate the district. If resources are available, we need to use them. No one wants to turn anyone over to collections, but we need the revenue.”

“Concerning those who never pay at enrollment - can we insist on getting their social security numbers?” BOE member Jim Brown asked.

“If we start collecting social security numbers, we have to insure those numbers are secure,” advised member Matthew Blank.

A letter will be sent to patrons who owe unpaid dues and that the next step is turning balances over to the Kansas Setoff Program and possibly to a collection agency.

“We have some time before we have to do something...I’m hoping the letters bring good results,” Rinkenbaugh stated.

In order to possibly take advantage of any 2013 tax refunds, the district would need to send collection letters soon. Any patrons who would like to discuss unpaid student fees are encouraged to contact the district office at 316-775-5484.

Belinda Larsen can be reached at