Audit Identifies $4,745 in Overpayments, Unsupported Checks at Central Ohio Charter School
Columbus – A financial audit of a Columbus charter school cited seven individuals for $4,745 in improper payments and discovered a possible ethics violation.
The review of Gateway Academy of Ohio, presently known as the East Bridge Academy of Excellence, found school officials violated academy policy by reimbursing a teacher for the full cost of her tuition.
The academy paid Ashley Pence $3,036 in May 2015 to cover the cost of two courses she completed at Arizona State University. Under the academy’s policy, Pence was only permitted to receive reimbursement for half of the tuition costs, meaning she was overpaid by $1,518.
“We should all be for supporting employees who want to better themselves professionally,” Auditor Yost said. “But financial assistance for continuing education has to remain within the boundaries spelled out in policy.”
In a separate finding, auditors found the academy lacked adequate supporting documentation for six checks issued to five individuals during 2014. Consequently, auditors could not determine if the $2,189 in expenditures served a proper public purpose.
Also in 2014, the academy overpaid Thurman Walker, a former student resource officer, by $1,038 in accrued wages following his termination from employment.
The audit also uncovered an email from former Treasurer Teresa Woods to former Principal Hydia Green encouraging Green to hire Woods’ husband, Daniel Woods, to perform maintenance work, for which he was paid $1,904. The matter will be referred to the Ohio Ethics Commission.
As a result of the audit findings, auditors issued findings for recovery in the following amounts:
- Ashley Pence: $1,518
- Dwayne Russell: $1,500
- Thurman Walker: $1,038
- Frederick Taylor: $400
- Teresa Woods: $173 (Repaid)
- Daniel Woods: $104
- Hydia Green: $12
The academy officials who authorized the respective improper payments are jointly and severally liable in the event that the above findings are not repaid.
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 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.
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