Taylor Releases Elgin Digital Academy Audit

Board Should Prepare Financial Closeout Plan

Friday, April 6, 2007

Marion County -

State Auditor Mary Taylor released the annual financial audit of Elgin Digital Academy today and recommended that the school prepare a financial closeout plan in case the academy is forced to close. The school was suspended by its sponsor last fall due to low student enrollment.

“Based upon the academy’s current suspension status, it is crucial that board members develop a financial closeout plan in an effort to properly account for all taxpayer dollars should the school close,” Taylor said. “A proactive approach to reporting the school’s financial status could help prevent the loss or mismanagement of public funds.”

The academy entered into a five year sponsorship agreement with the Elgin Local School District in October 2003. At the time school operations were suspended, only seven students were enrolled. Ohio law says community schools must have a minimum of 25 students enrolled to remain open.

Board members are in the process of developing a plan to increase student enrollment and reopen the school. If the school is ultimately forced to close because it is unable to increase enrollment, Taylor suggested that the school’s board develop a closeout plan including the following actions:

  • Establish a final financial audit date with the state auditor’s office
  • Prepare financial statements for final audit
  • Arrange for an accounting firm or the state auditor’s office to verify itemized financial statements
  • Submit financial statements to the state auditor’s office including the results of the sale of property
  • Formally account for all school-owned property and other assets
  • Use remaining funds to pay the following entities in the following order: employee retirement accounts, employee pay, state and federal taxes, audit preparation, payments to private creditors, state general revenue fund.

The Ohio Auditor of State’s Office is one of the largest public accounting offices in the nation.  The Office strives to ensure that all public funds are spent legally and appropriately and works aggressively to root out fraud, waste and abuse in public spending. Taylor encourages anyone suspecting fraud or misspending of public dollars to contact her office toll free at 1-866-FRAUD-OH (1-866-372-8364).

A copy of the full audit is available online at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Reports/2007/Elgin_Digital_Academy_06-Marion.pdf.