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Columbus City Schools stays steady in state audit
An audit, conducted by the auditor of state, for Columbus City Schools for fiscal year 2008 shows no material weaknesses in the district's financial statements. This means the district is complying with the many laws, regulations, contracts and grants as required under generally accepted accounting standards, as well as state and federal laws.
"The district's financial status is strong and this audit provides a good snapshot of how far we have come in improving systems of accountability," said board member Stephanie Groce. "We continue to improve our overall financial processes and that's exactly what this audit demonstrates."
The audit revealed significant improvement in several areas of the district's operations. Of the 26 reportable conditions noted in the 2007 audit, just seven of the conditions remain in this audit and these are already being addressed by the district. There has been a 75 percent drop in the number of comments in the audit.
The audit showed the district needs work in these areas:
•Financial reporting adjustments and reclassifications
The auditor recommended the district enhance controls over the way financial information, certain transactions and reporting are recorded on the books.
•Food service procedures
The auditor noted the district should improve its counting procedures and valuation of food inventory. Columbus City Schools did put such a policy into place on June 26, 2008 and has developed guidance for monthly inventory counts. No items were found to be unaccounted for in the food services area.
It was recommended under the Federal Grants Fresh Fruit program, the district should reconcile its monthly invoice to receiving tickets. The district will centralize the purchasing and delivery of all fresh fruit and vegetables through the USDA program.
The district did not receive payment for COBRA premiums of two employees. One of the payments has been paid back, the other has not. The district is not informed of non-payment of COBRA premiums until 30 days after the fact.
The audit noted Title one funds outside of the grant requirements. The district allocates the funds based on need. It also has implemented changes to procedures to provide more detailed budgeting and monitoring.
•Reading First program
While no money was spent outside of what was allocated as a whole, the district incurred expenditures outside of the funding period of $61,999 of $3 million for the Reading First program. Grant administrators were informed to place all product orders by June 1 and ensure evidence of order acceptance is received by June 30.
Columbus City Schools is Ohio's largest school district, serving more than 55,235 students in 123 schools.
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