Taylor Releases Performance Audit of Lebanon City School District

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Warren County -

State Auditor Mary Taylor released the performance audit of the Lebanon City School District today. The report outlines several steps district officials have taken to improve their financial condition and recommends additional measures to eliminate projected deficits.

“This performance audit provides district officials with recommendations that will help save tax dollars and improve efficiencies,” Taylor said. “While school management should be commended for their work to address fiscal concerns, they should look seriously at the recommendations outlined in this report in their continuing efforts to achieve financial stability and enhance operations.”

The Lebanon City School District qualified for a state funded performance audit when the Ohio Department of Education declared the district to be in fiscal caution on September 12, 2005. At that time, the district projected a cash deficit of $4.6 million. Since then, school officials have taken steps to eliminate the deficit, which include:

  • Passing an emergency operating levy to generate an additional $4.2 million annually
  • Reducing staff
  • Refinancing existing debt

Performance audits report on the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations through peer comparisons and benchmarking to industry standards.  A performance audit can be a useful tool for agencies seeking to improve operations, identify cost savings and make better use of existing resources.

The performance audit of Lebanon City Schools reviewed financial systems, human resources, facilities, transportation and technology. The recommendations that district officials should consider in order to save approximately $300,000 annually include:

  • Reducing the district’s bus fleet by five and improving overall efficiency of transportation
  • Charging individual departments for use of buses for extracurricular events
  • Developing strategies to monitor and control sick leave use
  • Implementing policies and procedures to ensure consistency in the development, review and monitoring of the five-year financial forecast

The audit also noted many of the district’s current practices that should be commended, such as:

  • Implementing a Comprehensive School Safety Plan helping to ensure the safety of students and employees
  • Spending a relatively low amount per student in instruction while maintaining high performance standards
  • Utilizing a new employee training program for facilities and custodial workers, thereby reducing the amount of time needed to become familiar with job duties and responsibilities
  • Using web pages to post class-related information and using e-mail to improve communications with parents
  • Requiring most full-time employees to contribute 20 percent of the health insurance premium costs

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).

A full copy of the audit is available online at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Reports/2007/Lebanon_CSD_07_Performance-Warren.pdf.