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Higher Education Efficiency Bill Approved by General Assembly
Columbus – Legislation granting the Auditor of State’s office authority to conduct performance audits of higher education institutions passed through the Ohio House of Representatives Thursday and awaits Gov. John Kasich’s signature. It received Senate approval on Wednesday.
House Bill 384 will give the Auditor’s office explicit authority to include a public college or university in one of the four required performance audits each biennium. Those four audits are currently limited to state agencies.
Performance audits identify operational efficiencies that public entities can use to reduce costs and improve service. Since Auditor Yost took office, the Ohio Performance Team (OPT) has identified more than $234 million in potential savings for state agencies, local governments and school districts throughout Ohio. Since OPT’s inception, more than $1 billion in savings have been recommended.
“Ohio has a world-class university system,” Auditor Yost said. “This bill will help to contain costs and further their mission.”
Auditor Yost thanked everyone whose support helped bring the legislation to fruition. Yost partnered with Representatives Tim Schaffer and Mike Duffey to draft the bill, which was introduced on Nov. 2, 2015 and approved by the House on Jan. 27 of this year. The bill has the support of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) and the Inter-University Council (IUC).
In November, the Auditor’s office and The Ohio State University announced a plan to collaborate on the first higher education performance audit. Possible focus areas for the audit include:
- Information technology systems and support
- Fleet management
- Food service
- Shared services
Like the performance audits of state agencies, institutions of higher education would be required to report to the General Assembly on any recommendations that are not implemented within three months after the end of the comment period.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.