Auditor of State Office Provides Recommendations to Field Local School District in Performance Audit
Columbus – A performance audit released today by Auditor of State Keith Faber provides Field Local School District (Portage County) with recommendations to address their self-reported projected deficit condition over the next five years. The performance audit was provided by the Auditor of State and paid for with state funds at no cost to the District.
The performance audit was prompted by the district’s October 2018 five-year financial forecast, which projected a deficit of nearly $800,000 in 2020, growing to just more than $14 million in 2023. The report is designed to address the District’s deficit condition throughout the forecast period.
The district currently spends less per pupil than more than 80% of Ohio school districts. Additionally, the district has not had a new operating levy passed in more than 25 years, and has a lower local tax effort than the state average.
Despite the District’s lower than average per pupil spending, the audit found opportunities for average annual cost savings of $1,125,400 when compared to higher performing peer districts and industry benchmarks including:
· Staff reductions including administrators, teachers, and support staff
· Reductions in vision and dental insurance expenses, and
· Changes to busing and fleet management practices.
Even if the district implements all general recommendations, there is still a projected cumulative deficit during the forecast period of approximately $9.2 million. In order to fully address the deficit, the audit report contains additional recommendations that the district could choose from including:
· Reducing staffing to state minimum requirements
· Implement a salary freeze for all employees for four years
· Eliminate all subsidies for extracurricular activities
The report also provides recommendations to district officials that will assist them in developing long term strategies to better plan and manage the district’s financial health.
The recommendations contained in the report are based on data-driven analysis of the District’s operations. They are intended to provide information to the District’s administration in their efforts to address their financial condition.
A full copy of this report is available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.