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Auditor Yost Offers London Schools Ways to Save
Columbus – A performance audit prompted by the London City School District’s (Madison County) fiscal caution status identified more than $1.3 million in potential savings, according to the report released by Auditor of State Dave Yost today.
“More than a million dollars is real money,” Auditor Yost said. “Changing energy use and health benefits might sound like something you’ve heard before, but cost savings are never boring if they mean your district runs in the black.”
Among the topics identified in the audit, a formal energy conservation policy and education program can help the district reduce energy costs. The audit provides examples such as controlling building temperatures within the ranges of 74-78 degrees in the summer and 68-72 degrees in the winter to reduce costs. By implementing an energy conservation program, the district could save approximately $68,000 per year.
Currently, employees of London City Schools pay 20 percent of health insurance costs, but do not share in the costs of dental and vision insurance premiums. Compared to peers, the district’s insurance premiums are also 5 percent higher for singles and 12.5 percent higher for family coverage, which may be due to the district’s chosen vendor. The district intends to submit requests for quotes at the end of the contract year in September in order to gain further savings. If the district is able to negotiate lower cost premiums for its next insurance period, it could save approximately $218,000 annually. In addition, if the district is able to implement a 20 percent cost sharing of premiums by employees, the district could save approximately $34,000 annually on dental insurance and $10,000 annually on vision insurance.
It was recommended that the district revise its sick, personal and holiday leave provisions, as well as monitor sick leave and implement a leave abuse policy. When compared to the state average, staff members of the London City School District take significantly more leave. Based on the amount of leave taken by employees, the district’s incentive plan appears to be ineffective. The performance audit found that the district could save $41,000 by eliminating incentive payments and as much as $45,000 by implementing a leave abuse policy and lowering sick leave usage to the state average.
The London City School District was placed in fiscal caution by the Ohio Department of Education on February 21, 2011, due to forecasted deficits. According to the Ohio Revised Code, the Auditor of State may conduct performance audits of school districts in fiscal caution when it is believed that greater operational efficiency, effectiveness or accountability of services can be achieved.
A full copy of this performance audit may be accessed online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 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.