Taylor Issues Youngstown City School District Performance Audit

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mahoning County -

State Auditor Mary Taylor today released the performance audit for the Youngstown City School District.  The district could save more than $17 million by implementing the recommendations outlined in the audit.

“A performance audit is a valuable tool for school district leaders.  The recommendations made in the audit report could help school officials improve the efficiency of district operations,” said Taylor.  “I am pleased that we can provide this service to the Youngstown City School District.”

In recent years, the district’s operating expenditures have outpaced revenues which led to fiscal emergency in November 2006.  The performance audit was conducted in response to the district’s declining financial condition.

The performance audit of the Youngstown City School District addresses financial systems, human resources, facilities and transportation.  The audit notes that the district should be commended for making adjustments to the school staffing structure, negotiating freezes to base wages, keeping vision and life insurance premiums low and working to address its high workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

Potential savings identified in the audit relate mostly to human resource costs.  Recommendations include:

• Adjusting the district’s staffing structure to align with peer averages, or closer to state minimum requirements, could save $13 million.
• Changing employee health insurance contributions could save $1.5 million.
• Restructuring custodial staff could save $1.1 million.
• Implementing formal energy management polices and procedures could save $405,000.

Recommendations were also made to help guide future decision making by improving financial management and planning functions.  These recommendations include:

• Adopting formal policies and procedures to assist with the preparation of the district’s five-year forecast.
• Developing a comprehensive set of budget policies and procedures which include stakeholders in the budgeting process.
• Creating a multi-year strategic plan to provide vision and direction for the district.

A performance audit reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of government agency or program operations.  This is achieved through comparing and benchmarking similarly situated agencies to the agency under audit.  A performance audit can be used to improve operations, save taxpayer dollars and make better use of existing resources.

A full copy of the report is available online at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Reports/2008/Youngstown_CSD_08_performance-Mahoning.pdf.