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Taylor Releases Performance Audit of Canton City Schools
Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the performance audit of the Canton City School District. The audit outlines steps the district has taken to reduce projected deficits and makes additional recommendations that, if fully implemented, could save nearly $12 million annually.
Faced with a projected deficit of $2.2 million by the end of fiscal year 2008, Canton City Schools requested the performance audit as part of an effort to reduce costs and avoid fiscal emergency. According to the district’s five-year forecast, the projected deficit could reach $32 million by fiscal year 2011 if no action is taken.
“Canton City School officials should be commended for acting quickly to identify savings to reduce projected deficits and improve operations,” Taylor said. “I encourage school officials to implement the recommendations made in the performance audit to help eliminate projected deficits outlined in the district’s five-year financial forecast.”
The district qualified for a state-funded performance audit when the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) placed the district in fiscal caution on March 22, 2007. In May 2007, Taylor and state Senator Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) worked together to secure funding to expedite the performance audit process for Canton City Schools.
The performance audit of Canton City Schools reviewed financial systems, human resources, facilities, transportation and technology. The audit identifies several current practices worthy of recognition, which include:
- Reducing discretionary spending to levels significantly lower than peer school districts
- Participating in a county-wide health care consortium to significantly reduce health care costs
- Negotiating with a credit card company and local gas stations to receive motor fuel at reduced costs
- Establishing minimum qualifications for all employees of the treasurer’s office
The audit also lists several recommendations district officials should consider in order to save $11,842,000 annually, which include:
- Establishing a plan to address current and future staffing levels and maintain desired student-to-teacher ratios
- Renegotiating certain employee benefits
- Aligning school building and bus usage to a level similar to industry standards
- Implementing an energy conservation program
Performance audits report on the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations through peer comparisons and benchmarking to industry standards. A performance audit is a useful tool for agencies seeking to improve operations, identify cost savings and make better use of existing resources.
A copy of the complete audit is available online at www.auditor.state.oh.us.
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). Since taking office in January 2007, Taylor has identified more than $10.5 million in public funds that were handled improperly, spent illegally or stolen and must be repaid.