Audit Finds First Time Learners Academy Inaccurately Tracks Attendance

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Columbus – A state audit released today for First Time Learners Academy (Franklin County) issues findings for recovery for inaccurate attendance reporting and an unsupported expenditure.

First Time Learners Academy opened its doors to students on Aug. 22, 2013. Later that year, a site visit completed by the academy’s sponsor revealed a number of facility issues, including health and safety concerns with the building and lack of funds to pay construction costs to renovate the location appropriately.

The site visit led the sponsor to suspend the school on Dec. 6, 2013 and eventually close it entirely on Sept. 30, 2014. During this short lifespan, the academy conducted operations in several ways that were outside the bounds of Ohio law.

First, during the course of the audit by the Ohio Auditor of State, the academy was unable to provide important records in support of several financial transactions. These included payroll ledgers, employee contracts, support for debit card transactions, and student attendance records.

Second, during the course of its existence, the academy over-reported student attendance. This resulted in an overpayment by the Ohio Department of Education to the academy of $7,735.

Finally, the academy’s director, Abdallah Kassim, made an unsupported electronic withdrawal from the academy’s checking account of $806. Without proper support for this expenditure, there was no way to determine if Kassim used the money for a public purpose.  

“State funded schools have an obligation and responsibility to provide safe environments for their students, report attendance accurately, and use taxpayer dollars appropriately,” Auditor Keith Faber said. “My office will continue to hold schools accountable when they do not meet that standard.”

Based on the detail of the audit report, the Auditor’s office has issued findings for recovery for $7,735 against First Time Learners Academy. Additionally, the Auditor’s office has issued findings against Abdallah Kassim, and former board president of the academy, Halima Arbow for $806. Both of these findings are in favor of the Ohio Department of Education.

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 6,000 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, 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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