EAST LIVERPOOL - Based on its most recent audit, the city school district has received the Auditor of the State Award that goes to local governments for "clean" audits.
Audit reports are released semi-weekly, and among 54 released this week from 28 counties, only six government entities earned the Auditor of State Award.
The award is based upon several criteria, including entities that file timely financial reports in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP); an audit report with no findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, single audit findings or questioned costs; and a management letter that contains no ethics referrals, questioned costs less than $10,000 and other items.
The district's 2011-2012 audit, performed by Rea & Associates, showed no findings or questioned costs. In a separate management letter, auditors noted a few opportunities for business improvement and one minor citation.
The citation resulted from four of 16 non-payroll checks being issued when obligations were incurred prior to certification by the school treasurer, which auditors cautioned could cause the district to inadvertently overspend.
It was recommended the treasurer certify funds are available and inform all district employees of requirements regarding such expenditures. In addition, it was suggested that, when an exception occurs, then and now certificates should be used.
Treasurer Todd Puster said Thursday this process has now been changed.
Among business improvement opportunities, auditors noted the district has not been adhering to a board policy requiring a computer-generated inventory of all equipment be submitted to each building for verification by the last Friday in April, with the treasurer then required to update the records.
If this is no longer feasible, auditors suggested the board change its policy.
Voided transactions in the food service department need to be formally signed off on by management personnel and estimated resources need to be posted on ledgers in a timely manner, the audit concluded.
In announcing the award Thursday, Puster commended his office staff, which includes Rhonda Jarrett, Melissa Baker, Traci Davis, Marlene Lemley, Kenna Rayl and Sally Lynn (now retired) for its work ethic and diligence.
In addition, he recognized those who handle money in the district for adhering to money-handling procedures, noting this would include secretaries, cafeteria treasurers, ticket takers, faculty advisors and others.
"It is especially tough for a large public organization to receive this award. So, when a school district of our size and complexity receives recognition of this type, it is only because many people care enough to do what is right in the right way each and every day," Puster said.
According to Puster, to his knowledge, this is the first time the district has received such recognition from the state auditor. Puster has served as district treasurer four years.
The entire audit is available for view at his office during business hours or at the state auditor's website: www.auditor.state.oh.us/auditsearch/Reports/2012/East-Liverpool-CSD-12-Columbiana.pdf.