ECHS bookkeeper Ann Cassaras

Daniel Dye / The Herald

Elmore County High School bookkeeper Ann Cassaras reviews financial papers. She has kept the school’s books balanced for 30 years.

Elmore County High School bookkeeper Ann Cassaras has enjoyed her 30-year career keeping the school’s finances balanced and working with administrators, teachers and students.

She considers the people at ECHS as her extended family. 

“I love working up here,” she said. “You know I do if I’ve been here for 30 years now. It’s like my extended family. I am just so close to everyone. 

“Coach (Wes) Rogers is just a fine, family man who is such a good communicator. It has helped us tremendously to know he is backing me and his teachers and he is looking after his students. That means a lot.”

Cassaras used to work in the banking industry in Montgomery. She stepped out of her banking career to take care of her young children.

Then, in 1989, the ECHS bookkeeper job was available. She landed the job and has not looked back.

The work that comes with being a bookkeeper of a high school is tedious, but it is something she enjoys, Cassaras said.

“It’s just tedious, but I really love it all,” she said. “Maybe that’s why I’m still working. Just keeping up with all the paperwork — it’s a lot of paperwork. I’m also learning new things.”

The school recently incorporated Square, which is a mobile credit and debit card payment system.

“We’ve taken it slow to begin with,” Cassaras said. 

She indicated this summer the school expects to fully roll out the Square payment system.

“When families come in to pay fees it will be easier for them to use Square if they do not carry cash,” she said. “It will be easier for teachers because when a student bring cash, the teachers have to give a receipt to students when they bring in money. Then I balance what they send me.”

She said the school already used the system during basketball season for tickets and concessions.

Cassaras is also responsible for submitting payroll information and keeping the school’s bills paid.

“You cannot get a substitute to do the bookkeeping for you usually,” she said. “If you’re going to be out, that same work is going to be here (the next day) waiting for you.

She said the financial policies established by the Elmore County Board of Education guide her work. 

“The main thing is making sure we follow those guidelines,” she said. “We are audited and they go over everything with a fine tooth come to make sure we are following proper procedure.”

Cassaras said she has seen beneficial changes in the way the school educates its students.

“The school is more student-oriented now than when I first came here,” she said. “I think everybody works together to really get the students for the outside world. They are in this little area (Eclectic) and some think (life) is hard. I think the teachers, counselors, all of us work together to try to let them know it is a new world out there and it is a lot harder than going to high school.”

As for her future plans, Cassaras said she has no set timeline for retiring and is just taking life one day at a time.