Taylor Issues Field Local School District Performance Audit

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Portage County -

Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the performance audit of the Field Local School District.  The audit presents recommendations that could result in more than $1.6 million in average annual savings in fiscal years 2010 to 2012.

“This performance audit is a valuable resource for Field Local School District leaders as they make decisions about their operations and finances,” said Taylor.  “Implementing the recommendations in the audit will help to establish fiscal stability so that the district can continue to provide important educational services to area children.”

The performance audit of the Field Local School District examines its financial systems, human resources, facilities and transportation operations.  The audit notes that the district should be commended for limiting discretionary spending during the past two years.  The district spent $694 per student in fiscal year 2006 and $760 per student in fiscal year 2007. School districts similar to Field spent $878 per student in fiscal year 2007.  Also, the district keeps workers’ compensation insurance costs low and is taking action to reduce copy machine costs.

The audit recommendations provide a series of options for Field Local School District officials to consider. The audit states that the district should take the following actions to begin realizing savings in 2010:

• Adjusting the number of teachers and educational service staff could save a total of $2.2 million by 2012.  The state requires one teacher per every 25 regular students on a district-wide basis and the district currently has one teacher per every 19.3 students.  The district could decrease the number of teachers on staff to meet the state requirement and eliminate costs.
• Adjusting the number of clerical staff could save $428,000 by 2012. 
The district employs more clerical staff per 1,000 students than other similar school districts.  Reducing the number of clerical staff would help improve the district’s financial condition.
• Implementing an automatic substitute-teacher calling system could save $22,500 by 2012. 
Currently, clerical staff contact and schedule substitute teachers for the district.  Use of an automatic calling system would eliminate the cost of clerical staff performing this duty.
• Reducing the number of buses and drivers could save $272,000 by 2012. 
Field Local School District has fewer students per bus than other similar schools.  By reducing the number of buses, the district could save money while still having enough busses to serve its students.
• Changing employee health insurance contributions through negotiations could save $705,000 by 2012.  District employees pay 2.4 percent of the premium for single coverage and 2 percent for family coverage.  The statewide average for health insurance premium contributions is 12.3 percent for single coverage and 13.3 percent for family coverage.  The district should increase employee health insurance contributions to more closely reflect statewide averages.
• Addressing the retirement contribution levels for employees through negotiations could save $1.1 million by 2012. 
Eliminating District payment of the employees’ share of retirement contributions for all employees would have a positive impact on the district’s financial condition.
• Changing the practice of implementing longevity pay increases one year early, through negotiations, could save $53,000 by 2012. 
By implementing pay increases during the correct year, the district would eliminate unnecessary expenses and improve its financial condition.

A performance audit reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of government agency or program operations.  This is achieved through comparing and benchmarking the agency or program to similar agencies and relevant standards.  The results of a performance audit can be used to improve the effectiveness of operations, save taxpayer dollars and make better use of existing resources.

A full copy of the report is available online at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Reports/2008/Field_LSD_08_Performance-Portage.pdf


The Ohio Auditor of State’s Office is one of the largest accounting offices in the nation.  The office strives to ensure that all public funds are spent legally and appropriately and works aggressively to root out fraud, waste and abuse in public spending.  Taylor encourages anyone suspecting fraud or misspending of public dollars to contact her office toll free at 1-866-FRAUD-OH (1-866-372-8364).  Since taking office in January 2007, Taylor has identified more than $17.5 million in public funds that were spent illegally and must be repaid.