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Taylor Releases Audit of Greater Achievement Community School
Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the fiscal year 2003 audit of the Greater Achievement Community School. The audit reveals that more than $673,000 was inappropriately spent by the school and must be repaid.
The audit also cites many instances of poor record keeping and other financial reporting irregularities. Consequently, the school received a disclaimer opinion, meaning school records are insufficient for auditors to reach a conclusion about the accuracy of their financial statements.
“Every tax dollar counts and the citizens of Ohio deserve to know how their tax dollars are spent,” said Taylor. “It is essential for all entities that spend taxpayer dollars to keep accurate financial records to ensure that tax dollars are spent appropriately.”
The audit states that a finding for recovery totaling $673,675 must be repaid to the school by several staff members. Auditors could not verify that the payments in question were appropriate because there is no supporting documentation. The audit also cites specific examples of financial mismanagement including the failure to:
• Maintain books, records, accounts and minutes
• File annual financial statements with the Auditor of State as required by state law
• Maintain copies of teaching licenses or permits for 11 teachers and instructional assistants
• Provide public notice of board meetings
• Retain salary agreements and withholding authorization forms
Last month, Greater Achievement Community School was declared “unauditable” or unable to be audited due to missing or incomplete financial records for fiscal years 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. The “unauditable” designation will be removed from the school when all four of the audits are released.
In 2007, Auditor Taylor hosted the first ever series of financial training workshops for community schools around the state. Due to the success of the event additional training sessions were held in 2008. To date, the classes have served almost 500 community school officials. The voluntary workshops offer financial, accounting and compliance training to community school sponsors, administrators, fiscal officers, board members and management companies.
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 $16.6 million in public funds that were spent illegally and must be repaid.