Taylor Releases Performance Audit of Rolling Hills Local School District

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Guernsey County -

Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the performance audit of the Rolling Hills Local School District. The audit outlines steps the district has taken to reduce costs and makes additional recommendations that, if fully implemented, could save more than $1.5 million annually.

“This performance audit makes recommendations to district officials to improve operational efficiencies and save tax dollars,” Taylor said. “School administrators have already taken steps to reduce the district’s financial burden, but more work is needed. I encourage them to consider the recommendations outlined in this report in their ongoing efforts to achieve financial stability and improve operational efficiencies.”

The district qualified for a state-funded performance audit when the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) placed it in fiscal caution on March 24, 2006. A subsequent analysis of the district’s five-year forecast revealed a potential deficit of $2.3 million by the end of fiscal year 2011.

The performance audit of the Rolling Hills Local School District reviewed financial systems, human resources, facilities, transportation, food service and technology. The audit identifies several current practices worthy of recognition, which include:

  • Reducing staffing levels by offering certain employees an early retirement incentive
  • Using wireless internet technology to avoid rewiring older buildings at a much higher price
  • Installing electronic access panels to improve personal security and to prevent the theft of assets such as computers and other equipment
  • Significantly reducing the district’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation rating to avoid higher insurance premium costs

The audit also outlines several recommendations district officials should consider in order to save $1,648,476 annually, which include:

  • Aligning teacher and education service personnel staffing levels closer to state minimums
  • Developing a sick leave abuse policy to reduce substitute and overtime costs
  • Negotiating changes to collective bargaining agreements regarding fringe benefits and compensation
  • Implementing an energy conservation program to minimize energy costs

The performance audit indicates that if school officials implement the recommendations outlined in the report, and limit future spending, the district could operate with positive fund balances through fiscal year 2011.

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.