Taylor Issues Lake Local School District Performance Audit

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wood County -

State Auditor Mary Taylor released the performance audit of Lake Local School District today.  Currently, Lake Local School District has the lowest spending per student in the Toledo area and could save more than $550,000 if it implements the recommendations outlined in the audit.

“Every tax dollar counts when it comes to educating the children in our community,” said Taylor.  “I encourage Lake Local School District leaders to implement the cost saving strategies recommended by the performance audit and also to consider additional ways they can make their current practices more effective and efficient.”

The performance audit was funded through the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Student Success and reviewed financial systems, human resources, facilities, food service, transportation and technology.  Through strong financial management, Lake Local was able to continue to provide educational services that resulted in high achievement scores with no new revenues.  Through the audit, it was noted that administrators often found creative, low cost solutions to problems during the period of financial hardship.  The audit noted that many of the district’s current practices should be commended: 

• Between fiscal years 2003 and fiscal year 2006, the district decreased transportation staff costs by nearly $40,000.
• The district consolidated long distance phone services and decreased spending by $163,800.
• They reduced transportation maintenance and repair costs by outsourcing preventative maintenance of the bus fleet.
• More recently, Lake Local has purchased previously leased buses at a greatly reduced cost to improve the condition of its fleet.

The major savings identified in the audit relate mostly to human resource costs.  These recommendations, along with several others, should be considered as Lake examines its future finances and strategies. Recommendations included:

• Reviving planning efforts and formalizing many current processes.
• Reducing teaching staff by six full time employees would save $298,000.
• Requiring outside vendors to handle all food service needs would save the district $61,000.
• Limiting the district’s payment of employee retirement benefits, for which employees are typically responsible, would save $56,000.

Performance audits report on the efficiency and effectiveness of government agencies or programs.  This is achieved by comparing the audit client to similarly situated entities. A performance audit can be used to help agencies improve operations, save taxpayer dollars and make good use of existing resources.

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 report is available online at www.auditor.state.oh.us.