Sloppy Books Found in Audits of the LEARN and LEAD Academies
Columbus – Careless bookkeeping led to more than $278,000 in findings for recovery in the audits of former Liberty Local School District conversion schools Liberty Early Academic Resource Nest Academy (2010, 2011 and 2012) and Liberty Exemplary Academic Design Academy (2011 and 2012) (Trumbull County), released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“The rules are simple: make sure taxpayers know how you’re spending their money,” Auditor Yost said. “The bookkeeping at LEARN and LEAD Academies was a disservice to the public and students alike.”
Liberty Early Academic Resource Nest (LEARN) Academy
The 2010 audit includes a $169,590 finding for recovery issued against the Liberty Local School District, the academy’s sponsor, for two payments to the district that lacked documentation to support the public purpose of the payments. In addition, another $1,630 finding for recovery was issued against Treasurer Tracey Obermiyer due to six expenditures that lacked proper documentation, including payments to the Akron Zoological Park and Quaker Steak and Lube – Austintown.
During the 2010-2011 school year, the academy issued 25 checks and made 26 debit card expenditures totaling $68,131 without including proper documentation to support the purchases. Transactions include payments to a bowling alley, a pizza restaurant, Toys-R-Us and CVS Pharmacy. Without the proper documentation, it is not possible for auditors to determine whether the purchases were made for a proper public purpose. A finding for recovery in the amount of $68,131 was issued against Obermiyer.
The 2010 and 2011 audits contain an additional $26,906 in findings for recovery in favor of LEARN for unauthorized payroll expenditures to Liberty Local School District employees for supplemental accounting services. According to the community school sponsorship contract, the individuals who received payments from LEARN should have received their compensation from the school’s sponsor, the Liberty Local School District.
Liberty Exemplary Academic Design (LEAD) Academy
Findings for recovery were issued in the 2011 and 2012 audits against Treasurer Tracey Obermiyer for numerous expenditures that lacked proper documentation. In 2011, LEAD Academy issued $9,951 in improperly documented checks and debit card expenditures, which included payments to a brewing company and cheese shop. An additional $2,247 in undocumented expenditures occurred in 2012.
On September 7, 2011, the academies’ governing boards voted to settle financially with the sponsor, the Liberty Local School District. The Portage County Educational Service Center became the sponsor of the academies on September 15, 2011 and suspended operations in October 2011.
Full copies of these audits 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 5,800 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.