Taylor to Offer Financial Training for Charter School Officials

Plan Aims to Improve Fiscal Oversight of Community Schools

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Columbus -

Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor announced the creation of a new statewide training program designed to strengthen financial operations and fiscal oversight of the state’s community schools.

“Since taking office, my administration has released 78 audits on charter schools.  While the majority of charter school operators are properly managing the financial operations of the school, those that don’t threaten the success of all others,” Taylor said. “As state auditor, I have seen financial reporting irregularities, bad bookkeeping, misrepresentation of financial statements, and outright fraud at some community schools operating in this state.”

The Auditor of State Community School Training Program will include a series of regional workshops held around the state this summer. The voluntary workshops will offer financial, accounting and compliance training to school sponsors, administrators, fiscal officers, board members and management companies.

The workshops will specifically offer training to fiscal officers regarding the retention of financial statements, state regulations for financial reporting, and other fiscal obligations that must be met. The workshops will also cover the following topics:

• How to Prepare for an Audit
• Compliance with State Laws and Regulations
• Grant Restrictions/Funding
• Budgeting and Financial Forecasting
• Ohio Education Management Information System Reporting 

The training program is the first proposed reform developed by the Auditor’s Office under Taylor’s leadership to help ensure fiscal accountability in Ohio’s community schools. She expects to unveil additional reforms as part of a series of initiatives in the coming months.

“As state auditor, I’m compelled to offer community school officials the tools they need to appropriately account for every tax dollar they receive,” Taylor said.

Some of the most egregious examples of financial mismanagement found under the Taylor administration include an audit of The International Preparatory School in Cleveland resulting in the findings of nearly $1.4 million in alleged misspending and $1.5 million in mismanaged federal grant funds.  Taylor also has launched investigations or special audits into the Performing Arts School of Metropolitan Toledo, Harmony Community School in Cincinnati and W.E.B. DuBois Academy in Cincinnati to determine if any public funds were misspent.  In addition, other schools across the state have failed to provide the adequate and necessary financial information to conduct required audits.

The Ohio Auditor of State’s Office is one of the largest 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).

For more information about the Auditor’s Office, please visit www.auditor.state.oh.us.